How Can I Help My Child Set Goals and Encourage Them to Follow Through?

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In one form or another, we have received the same question from parents -
”How can I support my child in setting goals and how can I help them to follow through with them?”

Erika Carson, Eds.
Trilogy Mentors, Chief Learning Officer

Helping Students with Self Reflection

At the end of the year we ask ourselves questions like:
“Did I achieve everything I wanted to?” and “What can I do better next year?

Helping kids learn to self reflect, learn from the past, and how to set goals is an important part of helping them become successful individuals. Often, we see kids getting upset with themselves when they don’t get things right and/or make mistakes. In addition, we see them giving up on big and small goals because they lose faith in their own abilities. Helping them reflect on past successes and challenges, bringing awareness to the smaller goals that were reached in the process, and showing them how to break things down will set everyone up to work on setting new goals based on these reflections.

Creating a Routine Check-in

We suggest:

  1. Starting a journal or creating a vision board

  2. Try using an online creative tool like Storybird that allows you and your child to both reflect and track progress on improving their writing skills.

Having a routine for “checking-in” just might make communications about what’s going on with school and their lives a bit easier for everyone.

Here are a few examples:

  • If your kid wants to be able to draw animals, the first goal might be going to the library and picking out books about drawing. The next small goal might be to set 15 minutes each day to practice drawing.

  • If you have an older student that wants to save money, help them identify a reasonable amount they can save each week. Try setting up different jars that they can use to put money towards various goals like: college, entertainment, or things like gas or bus faire. Make marks on the jars to indicate smaller milestones in their saving efforts.

Self Reflection and Setting Goals

Kicking off the new year with your student!

New Year’s Resolutions: Setting Goals
This process can also be started at anytime throughout the year to refocus your student’s goals and get them back on track.

1. Start by explaining what a goal is.

2. Talk to your child about some of the goals that you’ve set for yourself.

3. Make sure you talk about big and small goals - tracking milestones. as well as the challenges you’ve faced reaching your goals.

4. Discuss realistic goals. Talk about some challenges you’ve faced trying to reach one of your own goals, how it might feel when they don’t reach a goal, and ask how they might react if the results aren’t what they expected.

5. Have them reflect on past goals, actions, and choices - including what resulted.

6. Have them make a list of current goals. Then, work with them to prioritize and manage expectations.

7. Create timelines and deadlines for each goal using a planner or calendar.

8. Create sub tasks and check-ins that should be completed on the road to achieving their goals.

9. Identify how each goal will be celebrated when it is achieved.

10. Create a "contract" that must be completed and signed by both of you that details the completion of each specific goal.

Working with your child to set new goals, recognize milestones in their efforts, and reflect on their success and/or challenges throughout the process is a good habit to get into in the new year.

Cheers to the new year and accomplishing our goals!