How to Set Back-to-School Goals and Help Your Kids Succeed

Back-to-school season is in full swing. As millions of families prepare to send their students back to the classroom, it’s important to carve time to create a plan for the year ahead. Depending on your child’s grade level, setting goals can be a creative approach to reaching their potential. Whether they want to improve their grades, make new friends, or simply step out of their comfort zone, setting goals can help them achieve greatness.

The art of goal setting should be taught at an early age. Below are six tips to set back-to-school goals and help your kids succeed.

Set the foundation

It’s unfair to ask a child to come up with a list of goals if they’re not clear on what the term ‘goals’ means.  Before jumping into the exercise, make sure to clearly explain what the purpose is. Use simple terms and real-life examples to explain what goals are and why they’re such a powerful tool for getting what you want.

Learn from the past

Goals are not one-size-fits-all, so you and your child must take the time to create goals unique to their objectives and opportunities for growth. If you’re not sure where to begin, a good trick is to look back at the previous school year and recall some of the most prominent learning experiences. Oftentimes, those mistakes or challenges make great goals for the future.

Describe and develop

While it can be tempting to take over the project and create goals you believe are in the best interest of your child, it’s important to give them a voice. Allow your child to describe their ideas. Listen, take notes, and translate their ideas into S.M.A.R.T. goals they’ll be able to track throughout the school year.

Make tracking fun and visual

One of the reasons goals fail is because we create them and forget them. We often write them in a journal or type them on a device only to never be seen again. Get creative and design a visually appealing tracking system for the goals. This can be a sticker chart, checklist, or vision board that serves as a reminder.

Schedule regular check-ins

Checking in on your goals is a fool-proof way to ensure you continue to make progress toward achieving them. Set a reminder on your calendar to check in on goals regularly. Whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or every six months, these check-ins will ensure the goals stay top of mind and adjustments are made as needed.

Celebrate success

Celebrating small wins and meaningful milestones are a critical part of maintaining momentum toward reaching your goals. Take time during your check-ins to celebrate your child’s growth. When appropriate, establish incentives that can serve as motivators throughout the year.