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Setting Goals with Your Child: 6 Tips for Parents

Setting goals with your child or children, even possibly as early as age six, has important benefits. But why? Well, setting goals has many benefits for children such as helping teach the value of working hard toward a goal and the success and achievement of reaching it.

Not only this, working towards a goal develops a sense of perseverance and grit, and means children gain greater self-confidence in themselves as they achieve their aim.

To try and encourage goal setting, it’s worth talking to your child directly about what goals they would like to accomplish so they are enthusiastic about them – and this can be anything! Whether it’s something practical such as learning to swim, or academic such as succeeding with understanding basic fractions!

I’m a teacher and below, I’m going to give some advice for setting goals with your child.

Select goals that present a challenge but are within reach

Although goals should be challenging, and should require some work in getting there, they should also be realistic. We don’t mean for you to set difficult, impractical goals, but we encourage you to help your child push themselves to meet new challenges rather than doing something they can do easily. By setting unrealistic goals, your child may give up on them early but by sitting down with your child and setting ones they feel that they can accomplish, you’ll be helping them find ones that are achievable. Nevertheless, some goals won’t be attainable but it is learning the process of trying to achieve those goals which is important, and not reaching them is okay.

Consider the 6Ws

It’s worth making sure you have the 6Ws in mind when you set goals, as this will help your child see the process behind achieving them.

What: What is it your child wants to do?
How: How is your child going to get there?
When: When will the goal be accomplished?
Where: Where is your child going to do it?
Who: Who is going to help do it?
Why: Why is this goal significant for your child?

By putting a goal into manageable sections in this way, your child can see how they’re progressing and how they’re going to accomplish it. To help visualize further where they are with a goal, it might be worth setting up a board with the process or just the goals set, and hanging this up somewhere so they are reminded of them.

Be a support for your child

Make sure your child knows you’re there to support them even though you should encourage them to lead the success of goals. Show your child the process of how you’d break down a goal for instance and be a role model to them. This should help your child to persevere and succeed with their goals.

Reward accomplishments and encourage where it’s needed

Use statements for your child that promote effort and perseverance to encourage them in accomplishing their goals, and offer rewards where it’s fitting to encourage your child where they may be stuck on something difficult. If a goal is accomplished, it’s time to reward your child! You could either treat them or go and do something fun together. This will give your child satisfaction at achieving goals and encourages them to tackle their next one.

Give time to reflect

It’s good to have time for your child to review what went well or what didn’t go so well during a goal. Help your child evaluate themselves and learn from the process of pursuing a goal, even if he or she didn’t succeed. As your child has self-reflection, tell them that not all goals are accomplished, and encourage them by showing them that we all grow most from learning from mistakes. Reassure them by showing them not to let initial failures deter them.

So is it now time to start goal setting?

Here are a few examples of goals you could work on with your child:

  • Advancing in a reading level
  • Learning how to swim
  • Memorizing the multiplication table
  • Learning a new language
  • Learning how to get organized
  • Learning how to play an instrument

Setting goals will benefit your child in so many ways but remember that it’s okay to not reach a goal. It’s your support in helping your child achieve them which is important too.

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