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How to Support Goal-Making for the New Year


Tips from Teachers

Insights and Ideas from Smart Love teachers and tutors on how to help your children have a successful school year!

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As we are entering the new year, every individual has the opportunity to build goals and experience growth. This is a great time for parents and students to create academic and behavioral goals together. While new year goals can be infamous for being short-lived, here are some tips to maximize the process.


Reflect - Facilitate a conversation with your child and provide an opportunity for them to reflect on their areas of strength and areas that were challenging at school, home, or other environment. Provide prompts or sentence stems like “A difficult time I’ve had in school was...,” or “I’m really proud of myself for…”. This can help children intentionally think, as reflecting is a skill that needs to be practiced. Prioritize listening, acknowledging their feelings, and appreciate their transparency.


Model - What better way to bond with your child than to join a similar journey with them? Reflect and model how you are creating goals for yourself. Think out loud to show how you are connecting last year's reflections to your new year’s goals. This models how to think about their own goals and strategies and develops metacognitive (intentionally thinking about one’s thinking) skills.


Establish a Routine - Work with your child to explore ways to keep track of their goals. Statements like, “I wonder what we can do to help make sure you are meeting your goals?” If your child is struggling with ideas, offer some suggestions like, “Maybe we could set a time and place to discuss how your goals are coming along?” When children participate in this process it increases the likelihood of their continued engagement.


Goals are not a linear process - Help your child understand that the process of attaining goals is not a linear process and how setbacks and losses are a normal part of the process. Explain that if goals are not met in the exact way as intended, it does not equate to failure. If anything, it is an opportunity to adjust or modify goals according to current needs. Communicating this to your child is a critical component to minimizing feelings of failure.


Nurturing Resilience - The most impactful step parents can take to help their child weather losses or disappointments is to strengthen their relationship with their child. By offering your kind and caring responses, validating their feelings, and trying to understand your child’s point-of-view, parents increase their child’s confidence to try again.

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