Lead your child in goal setting

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” ― Dr. Seuss. The question is WHICH direction?

The beginning of the academic term is a great opportunity for personal reflection and to look ahead to goals for the next few weeks. 

How parents can prepare for a goal setting session:

1. Choose a time of day when everyone is fresh and alert.
2. Select a location that is away from distractions, with a surface to write on, some space to sit down and privacy to share thoughts.
3. Decide on 5 questions around goals, overcoming challenges and providing support
4. Steady your emotional state (be ready for discomfort, refusal and reluctance). Remind yourself of your parental commitment (what sort of parent you are and want to be).
5.  Make available paper, coloured pens, post – its and any other materials.
6. Before you begin, take a moment to explain briefly (in 3 sentences) what you will be doing, why and keep it well paced. Remind yourself and your children of  (relevant) family values.

A sample of 5 goal setting questions:
– What are your goals for the next 8 weeks – personal, social, activity-based, academic and “just anything”?
– Which of these do you rate as “easy”, “achievable” or “will be a challenge/hard”?
– List your responsibilities each day after school, during term time.
– What stands in your way of reaching these goals?
– How can you (or someone else) help yourself with these (obstacles)?

Interesting things I learnt about my children after one session:
It took over 30 minutes of holding space for a child who resisted “I have no goals” but finally write three goals down. Those minutes, felt like a lifetime! I nearly screamed, walked out and exploded from frustration. As a family and team, we persisted.

Children often know what they need to do but sometimes “choose not to” because they are (self-confessed) “lazy”, “easily distracted” or feel “tired”.

Ask for a feedback or rating of the session:
I received ratings of 7 to 9 out of 10 from my participants.

Duration of Session:
I had planned for 40 minutes. Final duration of session was 1.5 hours (30 minutes of that time spent in silence holding space).

Offer a reward: I awarded each participant with a little encouragement note that they could stick on their noticeboards. We exchanged hugs and committed to support each other. Everyone was allowed an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner that evening.

I invite you to give this a try!

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