Goal Setting with your Children
Setting goals is an important part of life that helps us achieve our dreams and desires. But without clearly-defined goals, we have a tendency to flounder rather than flourish. That is why it is critical to teach your children goal-setting skills while they are young.
One of the most effective methods for setting goals is the acronym S.M.A.R.T. According to Paul J. Meyer, effective goals must be:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Action-oriented
R - Realistic
T - Tangible
When helping your children set goals, whether it is to bring up a grade in math class, improving their baseball skills, or choosing a college, walk through the S.M.A.R.T. method with them.
Many times we make the mistake of generalizing our goals. For example, instead of saying, "I want to improve in math," encourage your child to use the S.M.A.R.T. method to set a detailed goal: "I want to improve my math grade from a C- to a B- by the end of this semester by studying one extra hour each week and having Mom quiz me before tests."
Goals also need to be both challenging and realistic. While goals will help instill motivation in your kids, setting unrealistic goals will only create frustration. Make sure their goals are attainable and beneficial -- not only in the end result but in the process as well.
After you have helped your children set their goals, create the steps to attain them. Include checkpoints of progress, such as having them talk with their coach or teacher.
Find out what works as a motivation system for your kids. Each child will probably respond differently to different rewards. Use whatever type of reward will motivate them best, whether it is extra allowance, a special outing with Mom or a new piece of sports equipment.
Teaching your kids how to set effective goals will not only benefit them now, but will prove to be a valuable skill when they are adults, as well.
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