Monday, March 4, 2013

Goal Setting with Your Child

Goal Setting with Your ChildGoal Setting with Your Child

Making the Most Out of the Year to Come!

 Posted by Jennifer Benoit

The new year is in full swing and it is a great time to talk with your child about goal setting.  But how?  Here are some simple steps to help your child of any age set goals and work towards them.  It might be a great idea for you as a parent to share your goals and work towards goals together or even set family goals.


Why is goal setting important?

Honestly, we are raising the next generation of law makers, teachers, soldiers, business people, mechanics, and a whole host of other types of people.  Helping them look at their lives critically and make goals helps make them better citizens, workers, and even family members.  We want them to strive for goals in order to make a difference in their lives and other’s lives. 

Helping your child see that he or she can make a goal is critical to success as an employee, business owner, and future parent.  Raising the next generation to think ahead is a valuable goal for us as parents.


By the same token, we want our children to see that goal setting can work and it is helpful in many areas of their lives.  Successfully meeting goals is a step on the path to maturity and personal growth.  Our children can succeed when given the opportunity and expectation.  They can also fail.  Learning to start again or rethink a goal is just as important.


What kinds of goals should/could we set?

  • Short term goals - (depending on the age of the child, setting them for a week, month, or quarter; in general, the younger the child, the shorter the time span, but if your child needs more support in breaking a habit or getting into a good habit, you may want some short term goals for even older children)

  • Long term goals - (these are goals for the year or for the school semester or year)  Long term goals are good to set as a family (one or two at most if you have never done so before) and are better for older children middle school and up.  If a younger child wants to make a goal for a year or half a year, break it into smaller goal sets to move towards the larger goal.

  • Physical goals – your child may want to change some physical habits such as exercising more, doing a handstand, etc.  They could also be physical in terms of physical space goals such as keeping room clean or effective organization so desk or room space is utilized.

  • Mental goals – these are goals to better themselves mentally suchGoal Setting Raleigh Apex Cary durhamas reading more interesting books, succeeding at Sudoku, learning the fifty states, learning all the presidents, learning the pledge or a specific song on an instrument. 

  • Emotional goals – these are goals that reflect emotional behavior and growth such as being able to successfully handle sibling squabbles, being able to calmly put toys away, learning more about how you learn to be able to effectively handle schoolwork in a different way, or talking with someone about a specific problem (getting a mentor).

  • Spiritual goals – this is specific to growth in the area of spirituality.  Whatever your faith, growing towards understanding it and how you relate to it as a person may be helpful.  Learning information related to your faith, memorizing, or taking classes may be goals.

  • Classroom goals – Many parents focus on these rather than on other pieces of their child’s life, however, remember that the other pieces factor into this area.  Classroom goals can revolve around grades or getting homework in on time, but they can also be focused on remembering to bring home all homework or working on telling the teacher if there is a problem with other children or if there are questions on schoolwork.

  • School goals – Maybe looking ahead for what clubs or sports a student may want to join is important.  This is especially true for students that are entering a new school next year (i.e. going to middle or high school or college).  These students are excited about the next chapter and are looking forward to it.  Many have ideas about what they would like to take part in at the new school.

  • Community goals – these are goals that relate to the community or world.  Maybe your child wants to become an Eagle Scout and needs a community project.  Maybe a family goal is to go on a missions trip or help in a local soup kitchen.  Perhaps your child is old enough to volunteer at a local organization each week.  Many of these goals fit in with what high schools often expect in order to graduate, so getting the hours in is important.

  Note:  All goals should be SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented.

So, now that you know all the types of goals you can set, go through them with your student and see which ones are helpful. 

Maybe a good rule of thumb is to set the goal for the number of grade that child is in. So a Kindergartener or First Grader may have one goal and a Second Grader will have 2 goals and so on.  By the same token, maybe some of the older students can handle just three short term and three long term goals.  Whatever works for your student, but be realistic.

One more note, be sure that the goal is your child's not yours.  Being a parent means making realistic goals with our children, not asking them to take on ours for them.  Be sure it is a goal that is shared by your child.

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