7 tips on setting school goals
Practical advice on turning goals into achievements for parents and kids.

The New Year has started in full swing with the recent holidays now feeling like a distant memory. We are also at that time of year where our kids are getting into gear to face another school year. Each completed year of schooling is a milestone in the lives of our children, taking them one step closer to independence. As adults we often reflect on what we have achieved in the past year, and then proceed to set new goals for ourselves for the current year. This goal setting is what keeps us focused towards our purpose, but we seldom encourage our kids to do the same.

Teaching our kids to set targets and goals for themselves for the year instils a value of working towards a purpose. It helps them channel their energy in a specific direction rather than simply go through the motions of what the year has to offer. Goal setting is something they will find useful throughout their lives, the earlier they start the better.

Goals can be linked to anything; it can be academic related such as a 2% improvement in maths or sport related, for example, to improve their soccer or rugby skills. It can even be personal like taking on extra chores in the home or saving their pocket money. Setting a New Year resolution such as not to be reminded to do their homework can even be seen as a goal. Whatever the goals may be, it needs to be specific.

Goal setting tips

•    Goals should be age appropriate – help your kids set goals that is according to their age.  
•    Goals should be achievable – guide your child to set a goal that can be achieved. Setting a goal that is simply not achievable can be discouraging for your child.
•    Goals should be realistic – encourage your child to set a goal that is realistic and not a farfetched idea. Remember, the goal must be specific.
•    Measure their goals in realistic terms e.g. a month or a school term.
•    Have your kid visibly display their goals as a constant reminder.
•    Guide and support your child every step of the way.
•    Reward them as each milestone is achieved.

Achievement of a goal is even more exciting when a reward is attached to it, often at the expense of a parent, although the benefit of what accomplishment teaches a child far outweighs the expense you have to go through. Parents are also encouraged to reward the child even if they have not achieved their goal, even if it is a smaller reward than initially planned. This will help them build confidence in themselves and try harder the next time.

The sense of accomplishment your child feels through their efforts helps boost their confidence and helps them realise the control they have over their achievements. The reward they are given for their efforts also helps them associate reward with achievement.

Has your child set any goals for the year?

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