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Types of Goals Your Child Should Be Setting (And Why They’re Important For Success)


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Learning to set goals is an important part of growing up and learning responsibility for children. From building confidence to teaching perseverance, helping kids set goals is key for achieving success both inside the classroom and out.

Setting Goals: The First Step To Success

While goals differ depending on your child’s age, strengths, and aspirations, learning to set goals is key to helping your child reach his or her fullest potential at school.

There are different types of goals your child can set, from long-term and short-term goals to goals that focus on education and habits. Understanding the importance of goal setting for students will better help prepare your child for success and a life he or she can shape with confidence.

Keep reading to learn what types of goals your child should be setting, examples to get you started, and tips for ongoing success.

Types Of Goals Your Child Should Be Setting

Grade-Based Goals

Grade-based goals focus on making improvements or reaching a specific milestone in your child’s education. These goals relate back to a specific project, exam, or subject.

Whether your child struggles in a specific subject area or wants to further improve his or her grades, setting goals for kids in school teaches your child how positive work ethic can make a difference in achieving what he or she wants. These goals lead to a better work ethic, stronger study habits, and an understanding of the steps it takes to achieve better grades.

Examples of Grade-Based Goals for Your Child

Grade-based goals for your child should be realistic, measurable, and achievable.

  1. Improve my science grade by ___% in the second semester.
  2. Achieve a grade of ___% (or higher) on my next ____ exam.
  3. Get a ___ on my science fair project.

Habit-Based Goals

Habit-based goals focus on your child’s lifestyle, habits, or personal endeavours. This includes everything from breaking a bad habit, such as talking in class, to improving a habit he or she knows will be useful, such as setting more time aside to study each night.

These habit-based goals support grade-based goals, working hand-in-hand to accomplish a bigger goal. Educational goals for your child can be met by focusing on improving his or her study and learning habits. Teaching your child about habit-based goals will better equip him or her with the tools necessary to make changes in life to better his or her self, confidence, and academic performance.

Examples of Habit-Based Goals for Your Child

Habit-based goals are actionable, individualized, and specific enough to follow.

  1. Review my science notes for 25 minutes after each class.
  2. Talk to my peers less and focus more during class.
  3. Raise my hand and contribute in class at least twice a day.

Helping Your Child Achieve Goals

Start with Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals are typically met within a few days or weeks. These types of goals are a great starting point when it comes to introducing your child to educational or habitual goals.

Engaging in short-term goal setting will help your child see and appreciate what he or she is able to accomplish. As your child starts to accomplish these goals, his or her confidence will increase, allowing your child to start setting goals on his or her own without being encouraged to do so.

Examples of Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals don’t require a long time to accomplish but instead fit into bigger goals that your child can focus on long term.

  1. Practice math questions every day after school for a week.
  2. Get a ___ (grade) on my next English essay.
  3. Finish my science project by ___.

Shift into Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals grow from short term-goals. They allow your son or daughter to see what can be accomplished with ongoing focus and determination, as well as the how smaller goals build into one larger ones.

Helping kids set long-term goals teaches children to plan ahead, consider their future, and understand that some things in life really do take time. This type of goal setting is important for students to understand motivation, patience, growth, and taking things one step at a time.

Examples of Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals won’t be accomplished right away and require a number of smaller goals to be accomplished first in order to be achieved.

  1. Get accepted to my top three colleges.
  2. Get a ___ (grade) in math class this year.
  3. Have only positive feedback on my report card.

Evaluating And Achieving Goals

Working toward a goal doesn’t always go as planned. Some children need more time to reach their goals, while others simply need more encouragement. Other times, children’s goals will change altogether. Goals can be flexible—the most important thing is to make sure you are tracking the progress of your child’s goals

Revisit & Readjust

Revisiting your child’s goals helps determine if there are any problems, if more help is needed, or if additional steps need to be added. This could be additional tutoring lessons or spending more time on homework. It could be re-organization, such as a visualization board with the steps needed to achieve the goal. Whatever approach you and your child take, make sure to help him or her determine how to keep goals on track.

Offer Positive Affirmations & Encouragement

Positive affirmations remind your child how well he or she is doing, boosting confidence and discouraging frustration. It’s important to help your son or daughter remain committed to his or her goals, and words of encouragement go a long way.

Set New Goals When They’ve Been Achieved

Once your child has achieved a goal, encourage him or her to think of how he or she can improve even further. This will encourage your child to continue thinking about the next goal he or she can work toward. Each time a goal is achieved, have a little celebration!

Setting educational goals with your child is key to helping him or her grow both inside and outside the classroom. Knowing what types of goals your child should be setting, and how to keep working toward it will not only help your child achieve success—it will also teach perseverance, build confidence, and demonstrate what can be accomplished with hard work.

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