Setting SMART Goals for Your Child

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“My name is Michael. I’m three years old. When I grow up I’m going to be a _ _ _ _.”

The little boy was silent for the first time that day. All morning he had buzzed around energetically, chatting with anyone who would listen. Now he stood still and looked up at his mom uncertainly, as if to say, “What?”

I asked her what he wanted to be. She smiled at her son but shook her head. “I don’t know.”

I’m sure you’re familiar with this situation. Many children wonder what they’ll be when they grow up. As parents, we should prepare our children for their future. We need to direct them, encourage them, and help them become the very best that they can be. And, we do this by helping them set goals and accomplish their dreams.

What I am going to show you now, are five steps to setting successful goals for your child.

You will learn about setting SMART goals for your child by making them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Let’s take a look at each one of these now:

What is A Goal? – A Goal for My Child

Despite what you may think, a goal is not synonymous with a wish or dream.

I myself, was also under this misconception until late last year when I learned otherwise.

A wish or dream is something you desire and hope for, but have no timeframe or plan to achieve it.

A goal is a dream or desire with a specific date set to accomplish it by and a coarse of action decided upon. Goals are SMART.

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How to Set Specific Goals for My Child

The first step in setting a goal is to get specific. What do you want to accomplish?

Instead of saying, “I want my child to be smart,” decide what it is you want them to learn. Do they need to learn to read? Perhaps they should learn the colors and shapes, or math, or a language?

Get even more specific by determining how they will learn. If you want your child to begin reading, you need to decide how you will help them accomplish that. You might set up minor goals such as reading to your child every day, showing them flashcards throughout the week, or using a certain program to stimulate their mind and encourage literacy.

How to Track My Child’s Goal

Next, you will need to be sure that your goal is measurable. Can you track your progress and see how you well you are sticking to your goal? If you are specific when setting your goal, it will be easy to measure. If your goal is to teach your child to read, then you can measure your goal by asking yourself:

“Am I reading to my child every day? Am I showing him flashcards and pointing out words to him?”

You can keep yourself accountable and focused by having a checklist for what you need to do each day to work towards your goal. I highly recommend keeping a journal where your can chart your progress, or a checklist you can use each day.

If you are specific when setting your goals, you can easily gauge how well you are following them.

What is An Attainable Goal for My Child?

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Another important concept to remember, is to set goals that are attainable or achievable. Can you take action on this goal, or are you dependent on someone or something to be successful.

If you don’t feel capable to make your own flashcards and spend much time personally teaching him; perhaps you should consider purchasing a program that makes teaching your baby simple. That is your course of action – using the program.

If it’s your goal that your child loves learning, excels in school, and is a valuable member of society; then, you can begin taking action by investing in him while he is young. As your child grows and you continue guiding and encouraging him, over time you will see your goals become a reality.

What Are Realistic Goals for My Child?

It is important for us to realize that while we may dream big, we must also be realistic.

Be honest with yourself. We must be willing to stretch ourselves and grow, yet also be reasonable. Maybe committing to reading to your child daily is a big step for you. You may not be able at this time to read to him and make him flashcards and play learning games with him. Know your limits, but do your best and push yourself. If creating the materials to teach your child seems overwhelming, then purchase a program that does the hard work for you. Commit to what you can do.

Most of the time we don’t accomplish our goals because we don’t give ourselves the time to accomplish them. It’s better to set a smaller goal and surpass it, then to over-aim and miss.

What is A Reasonable Time for My Child to Accomplish Their Goals?

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The last step in this goal setting process, is one of the most crucial. We touched on this previously; but, it’s so important, it deserves a section of it’s own. When you are setting your goals, you want them to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

As we mentioned before, a goal without a time limit, is simply a wish. You need to have an end date to see your dreams become a reality. If you don’t give yourself a deadline, you won’t see your goals come to pass. Without a set time it’s easy to keep saying, “I’ll travel the world someday.”

Setting a date to accomplish your goals by is essential to fulfilling your dreams.

Remember, you may have set-backs, but you’ll never fail as long as you don’t give up. Keep striving, learn from your mistakes, push forward, and you will succeed.

Goal Planning Worksheet for My Child’s Goals

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Once you know all the steps to setting a SMART goal, it’s time to write your own.

I’ve created a FREE Goal Planning Worksheet for you to use as you set your goals for this new year. Get it here: 2015Goal Planner

Now that you understand the steps to setting and accomplishing your goals, it’s time for you to take action! This can be your best year ever. God has immense blessings in store for you. Believe it and prepare yourself for the wondrous things that lie ahead. Don’t live without a passion or purpose. Dream big. Remember that He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all you could ever ask, think, or imagine. (Eph. 3:20)