From the time we are young students in kindergarten to the time we are parents working full-time jobs and raising our own children, we are taught to set goals. Reading goals, New Year’s Resolutions, a particular grade on a test, fitness plans, moving up in your career, you name it! There is always something to be striving towards. While setting goals may not be difficult, achieving them is another story. How many times have you set out to do something, but you’ve already fallen out of the habit several days later? I know I’m guilty of that.đź‘€ So, how can you as a parent help your children achieve those goals they have put their minds to?

First, let’s start with the actual goal setting. Whether your child has already set their goal or is starting fresh, it’s important to make sure it is a SMART goal. That’s a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Having all of these elements makes the journey towards achieving their goal much more achievable and straightforward. Additionally, make sure they write it down! You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down, making it a critical step in the goal-setting process. Now let’s jump into the fun part, actually completing the goals! Here are 3 steps to success.

Break It Down

If your child is having trouble achieving the goal they have set, start by breaking it down into more manageable steps. Chances are, part of the reason they are having a hard time accomplishing it is because of discouragement or lack of motivation. By breaking their larger goal into smaller bite-size goals, they will feel a sense of accomplishment every time they take a step toward success. Therefore, they start gaining momentum, and before they know it, they are over halfway there! So, for example, if their goal is to make the basketball team next year, a smaller goal could be to make 60% of their free throws. You can also add in small rewards for each small step accomplished to help motivate them.

Keep Them Accountable

Ever heard of an accountability partner? Having someone you trust to help keep you on track towards your greater goal can be extremely helpful. When your child loses motivation, gets busy, or wants to give up, an accountability partner ensures they keep striving towards the finish line. While parents are often their children’s biggest cheerleaders, that doesn’t always mean they should be their accountability partners. Often, students (primarily teens) don’t want their parents to constantly monitor and check in on their progress; it can feel overwhelming. A close friend, sibling, teacher, or mentor are great options to support your students’ goals. Remember not to take it personally if they don’t want it to be you—sometimes it’s in their best interest if it is not. 

Set Them Up For Success

Whether their goal is making the debate team, getting into their dream school, or even just passing their most challenging class, there is a lot you can do to set them up for success. As they set and work towards accomplishing their goal, notice areas where they may be struggling. Maybe they have their sights set on college, but they can’t seem to improve their SAT score? You can support them by providing them with the tools to reach that smaller goal, such as encouraging them to use Khan Academy for study prep or helping them find a tutor at their school. Goals become much easier to accomplish when students are adequately equipped with the tools to get there. But as a parent, the best thing you can do to support them is to make sure they are in the right learning environment to accomplish their goals. It could very well be the case that they are struggling to pass their most challenging class because the teaching style is not effective for them. Or maybe their school doesn’t have a solid speech and debate club for them to start practicing their skills. Whatever it may be, being in the ideal learning environment can make all the difference when it comes to achieving their goals. Luckily, Schola is here to make sure that you can find that perfect fit. With ScholaMatch, you can search for schools based on what matters most to you and your family and get matched with the right schools. 

And parents, I have a secret for you…these tips don’t just apply to students! Remember that it is vital to set goals to strive towards no matter your age, and you can use the same strategies as your children to reach those goals. It’s all about breaking it down, being held accountable, and having the right resources. So maybe you and your child can even work towards a goal together! You’ve got this!