Friday, September 12, 2014

Plan for Success!

"A wise person thinks ahead." Proverbs 13:16

Academic success does not happen by accident. Like every successful endeavor, it requires reflection and careful planning. It is never too early to teach children to plan for success through effective goal setting. Training a child to focus his energy toward realistic and achievable targets will give him the motivation and confidence necessary to tackle challenges throughout life.

The beginning of a new school year is a great time to help your child set personal goals. Depending on his age, encourage your child to establish personal goals in the key aspects of his life: Educational, Physical, Spiritual, Social and Financial goals. Write them down. For younger children, make it fun by drawing pictures or cutting and pasting photos representing their goals on a poster board. It is not enough to simply identify goals. It is important that your child articulate why the goal is important to her and list specific actions she will take to achieve those goals. If her goal is to receive an “A” in math, guide her in reflecting on what worked (or did not work) in the past, and list least three tasks she will do to meet that goal. Will she review her math facts daily? Meet with her teacher or tutor before each test? Check her agenda nightly to make sure homework is done on time? Write the strategies down. Place the board in a prominent place where your child will see it often.

As parents, we have our own, well defined goals for our children. Teaching them to set their own goals is challenging as it requires us to step back, listen and guide our children toward choices that are best for them. Your child’s goals must be her own. In order to develop this essential skill, she must take ownership of the goal setting process. This will build confidence and self advocacy skills, while instilling intrinsic motivation.  Give your child freedom to brainstorm ideas before offering advice. Remind him of past successes to help him make connections with what works for him. Guide him in choosing goals that are reasonably attainable within the year. Help him set priorities, if appropriate. For long term goals, focus on milestones that can reasonably be accomplished within the year. Support your child by providing resources and helping her develop skills to effectively organize her time. Make time to review goals periodically to help her maintain focus and make adjustments if necessary.

Positive reinforcement fuels motivation. Remember to consistently encourage your child by acknowledging the progress he is making toward his goal. Be specific when sharing your observations and praise so that he knows exactly what to repeat. When a goal is reached...Celebrate!

2014 © Gardener Parenting Consultants, LLC

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