by Penny on March 20, 2011 · 0 comments

I know I have written about goals before, but I want to revisit how to set goals as it is such an important skill for kids to learn!

We are 2/3rds of the way through the school year – with about 65 days left of class, so now is a really good time to sit down with your child to talk about how they are doing in school, and what they need to do to finish the school year on a strong note.

Many students will have just received their mid-year report, whilst others will not have had a report card since Christmas. Use the most recent report card to help start the conversation about how your child is doing at school. Ask them what subject they think is going well, subject areas where they would like to see improvement, and what subject is causing them the most frustration. It is really important to hear what they have to say about school, and to really listen to them. Discuss with them what they would like to have achieved by the end of the year, and whilst it is hard, try not to project on to them your concerns. Where you can help is by teaching your child how to set some short term goals that will move them closer to the targets they have identified.

Most kids have goals – they may want an A in English, or to reach reading level 18, or to pass their math course. They may even have big life goals – they want to become a pilot, or a professional hockey player, or a video game designer or an electrician. But having a goal isn’t enough. For goals to become reality there has to be an action attached – and this is where you come in.

So, your son wants to design video games? What does he need to do now to make that happen in the future?  For example, maybe your son has a C in math, but knows that math is a subject he will need to get into the computer courses he wants to take. Pulling up his math grade is one step along the way to designing video games.

Perhaps your daughter is struggling with reading, and wants to reach a certain reading level, or exit an LAC placement by the end of the school year. What can she do now, to help make this goal a reality?

Often kids know what it is they want to achieve, but can not figure out the steps it will take to get there. They focus on the big picture, which can often be overwhelming, and sometimes sets them up for failure. They need our help to break the goal down in to bite size pieces that are attainable and actionable!

This is where SMART goals come in:

SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely – and usually short term in nature.

Encourage your child to set a specific and measurable goal:

My goal is to pull up my grade from a C to a C+ by the interim reports in six weeks.


My goal is to reach reading level 18 by the end of June

 Next, help them figure out if this is attainable:

I need 5% more to reach a C+ and there are three major tests before reports on which to gain some points.


I am reading books at level 14 independently and at level 15 with help so have four book levels to master in 12 weeks.

To see if the goal is realistic and timely, have your child list the steps they will need to take to reach the goal:

I will attend all my math classes; complete all homework at home where dad can help me if I get stuck. Do twenty minutes review from text each night and talk to teacher if I don’t understand something in class.


I will practice my sight words every evening with my Mom. I will do 2 extra pages from my phonics book each night. I will read out loud to my parents for 15 minutes each day.

Then have your child post the goal where you will both be able to see it and can discuss it daily!

Consistently successful people set small short term goals that are actionable and that move them forward in their lives. Learning to goal set early in life is a great skill to teach your child. Setting and achieving goals also teaches them that life isn’t something that just happens to them but that they have the power to control their own path!

Smart goals aren’t just for academics – try having your child set them around other activities – learning to ski, getting his life guard credential or getting her babysitting certificate, or even saving for grad night!

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