Do you know where your child typically gets his academic motivation from???
For the most part, it is you! As parents, we have a huge role in influencing our child’s desire to learn and create lifelong habits in the process.
I have to admit; I had not really given goal setting much thought as a parent, until recently. Both of my older children have truly never struggled in school. They have easily motivated themselves and been determined to do their best work from an early age. I must have contributed something to these characteristics, but obviously I wasn’t that intentional about it.
Along comes child number three, and as parents we are a little more challenged. We received a report card just before the holidays and have decided it is time to set some specific goals together with him to hopefully narrow down some specific areas for him to focus on.
Goal setting is a great life skill and it is never too early to start.
Why Set Goals?
In order to succeed in school and in life, children need to develop the skill of self-determination as well as self-motivation. In other words, they need to be able to make their own decisions, guide their own behavior and take responsibility for their choices. Setting goals can facilitate this process because it helps kids make the connection between their own personal choices and the end results.
You can begin a discussion of goal-setting simply by asking your child what he hopes to accomplish. While you might have a few suggestions in mind, you’ll want to let this idea percolate for a few days. It is amazing the difference that can come when you allow your child to be involved in this conversation. If he feels really heard, they feel more a part of the solution rather than you just telling them what they must do. You might even be surprised to find that the expectations your child has for himself or herself are higher than you imagined.
Developing a Plan
Once your child picks one or two areas to focus on, you’ll want to help him or her develop a plan for accomplishing it. This will most likely include defining the goal, setting a time frame, and making a list of ACTION steps necessary in working toward the goal. You’ll also want to talk about how your child will realize that the goal has been accomplished. For example: Our child has an issue with not turning homework in on time, so the goal now is to turn in homework on time. We then brainstormed ways he could take steps to make this happen, these are the ACTION steps. Then we decided a time frame to review how we were doing with the goal. We will review this goal in one month and make any adjustments necessary.
To Reward or Not to Reward
Try to avoid the temptation to dangle financial or tangible rewards in front of your child to achieve success. The idea behind setting goals is for your child to get a sense of personal achievement that comes from reaching goals. If your child is always looking for outside rewards to keep him motivated his chance of success in the real world could be quite challenging. Instead, allow your child’s feelings of personal accomplishment to be its own reward.
Make sure you acknowledge the work you see your child doing along with way! Being specific with praise will inspire your child to continue to move forward. Instead of a “Good job” – let your child know that you see the time and energy he expended in doing his best work the first time. Knowing that you noticed will increase your child’s sense of accomplishment and fortify his or her self-determination.
What goals do you think you could help your child set? How can you support him to reach those goals?
Susan Heid loves inspiring Christian moms to make small changes managing their home and family life giving them more time, order and less stress! As a Certified Parent Coach and Family Manager Coach she enjoys sharing her expertise with moms through workshops, teleseminars, public speaking, and individual and group coaching. She is a proud mom, step-mom and foster mom to 3, married to her very own prince charming, loves coffee, cloudy days, and does think the “bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.” Make sure you get a copy of her FREE ebook, “Getting Kids to Cooperate and Become Team Players.”