The school year is well underway, and teachers have been busy setting goals and expectations for their students in the classroom. But it’s also important to spend some time at home discussing what your children want to achieve this school year and what you expect of them.
Having children set academic and personal goals for the school year can empower them to think independently and build self-confidence. Children are more likely to be motivated to achieve goals that they have set themselves.
Journey and I began this exercise when she started first grade two years ago. We have a conversation about what goals she would like to accomplish during the school year and she writes them down. Then we post them where they can be seen daily so that she stays on track.
I found this dry erase notebook page at Target for $2 that was perfect for this task. We hung it over right her desk where she does her homework.
This year’s goals are:
Once her goals are set, we talk about how to accomplish them. To help her better define her goals and determine what steps she needs to take to achieve them, I asked questions like:
- How can you become a better listener?
- What does acing your homework mean to you?
- What kind of math do you want to learn?
- What do you think it means to be a leader? How does a leader behave?
- What can you do to make new friends?
Here’s how she answered:
1. Listen better
Pay attention in class
Don’t get distracted
2. Get better at math
I’m exciting about learning division
3. Ace homework
Check my work
Ask for help when I need it
Make sure I understand and ask questions if I don’t
4. Be the class leader
Lead by example
Make good choices so others follow me
5. Make new friends (*she started at a new school this year)
Talk to everyone
Talk to someone new everyday
You can do this whole exercise in 30 minutes or less. Or you can do it over a few days like I did, discussing the goals during one conversation and the action plan during another. You can also have a discussion while you preparing dinner, at the dinner table, or in the car.
Taking the time to help children develop goal-setting strategies can set them up for long-term personal, academic and professional success.