Helping your children set goals for the school year

For many families, getting ready to go back to school means shopping for uniforms, gathering school supplies and scouring maps to locate upcoming classes. Why not add a new tradition to your process? Setting goals at the beginning of the year can be a great way to motivate kids to succeed. This will also help them measure their progress. Not sure where to start? Read on.

Talk about goals 
A goal is an objective to work toward. These intentions don't have to be incredibly specific, like earning a 97 on the science test – they can be more general. Goals are meant to be achievable, but not without some work. If your son earned a B in math last year, maybe he wants to aim for an A this year. He clearly has some knowledge in the subject and with a bit of determination and some extra studying, he should be able to obtain his goal. 

Think improvements
Goals should not be random. Instead, these objectives should help students make progress. Help your kids think back on the past school years to draw inspiration for their current goals. Perhaps your daughter thought about but did not participate in the science fair last year. With a little help from her teachers and some extra supplies, she could compete and possibly even win. Or, maybe your son earned average scores on standardized testing like the Common Core. He may set a goal to score above average on several subjects. 

Get outside the box
Not all school-year goals need to revolve around academics. Your children may want to set intentions about mastering certain moves in dance class or kicking butt on the debate team. If you have older kids, they might plan to hold a part-time job as well as keep up with their studies, or to be more involved in their younger siblings' lives. Even walking the dog every day after school could be an appropriate goal.

Add your own goals
Parents can benefit from this time to refresh their own goals. Ask your kids how you can set objectives that will help them during school. They may ask for more varied school lunches, for example, or to have you pick them up from school once a week so they have less of a commute. Working toward goals as a family can be a great way to set good examples and show the benefits of creating and sticking to your intentions.

When setting goals, consider areas where your kids could be doing better than they did last year. You may also want to talk to their teachers to learn if they have any in-class behaviors that warrant a goal. Educators may ask students to work toward raising their hands more, talking less in class or showing up on time. These goals may seem simple, but they can make a big difference when students try to achieve them throughout the year.

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