You’ve bought the school supplies, wiped out the backpack, and your child (or children, are) is headed back to school. With this change of pace, comes an opportunity to grow. Before you drop them off at school, send them on the bus, or set them up at the kitchen table for home school – sit down with you child, teenager, etc. and help them set some goals.
Let them make their own goals, but help them document them on paper and offer ideas while brainstorming. Encourage them to work towards their goals with rewards. Help keep them accountable by checking in bi-weekly or monthly.
For younger kids ask them to set a goal or two that are for themselves and/or for their school year. Explain goals to them and give them a simple example of your own goal.
Example: Mom or Dad will join the gardening club in town so they can improve their landscaping and meet new friends. They will redo one section of the garden bed with the skills they learn.
Personal / Behavioral – These goals can be something your child wants to learn themselves. It may be a skill or practice. It can also be to improve a negative aspect of their attitude, or to be patient, honest, or considerate. One goal could be to practice thankfulness, encourage your child to keep a gratitude journal.
Example: Instead of being frustrated when I don’t get my way, I will ask about other options for something I can do or have.
Consider making goals that include chores, quality time, or that you can hold with your child.
Example: Thursday nights we vacuum and sweep together and Fridays we play board games together or watch a show together. Maybe your underlying goal behind this is that you want less dog hair in the house and to teach your kid(s) to think about chores other than in their own room. Perhaps you also want to teach them balance and spend more quality time with them.
Educational – These goals can be related to grades, improving a skill, or trying something new. The don’t have to be related to curriculum at school either.
Example: I will read for an hour each week, and chart my time.
Financial – If your teen has a job or receives an allowance, help them budget to meet their goal.
Example: I will save half my earnings in a college fund.
Career – If your teen knows what they want to do when they graduate, let them make goals in that direction. Think classes, trade schools, trainings, etc.
Example: I will find a mentor at the body shop to show me how to work on motors.
Don’t forget those rewards and remember to celebrate! Even if the goal isn’t met, offer them a smaller reward and focus on the improvement they made. If this practice was helpful, try it for yourself! Get some inspiration to set your own goals. Have great school year!