Making and Keeping School
I've never been very good about goal-setting, but would sure like to help our
sons be good at that important life skill. I'd like to help them focus on what
they really want to do in school, to zero in on and improve. Now that it's New
Year's Resolution time, I'd like to start. They are 8 and 10. What should we do
to help them make, and more importantly keep, some good resolutions?
Goal-setting is one of the best, most practical
skills you can teach a child. And what better time for reflecting on what is
past, and looking ahead to what needs to happen to have a better future, than
on New Year's Eve?
Students who are taught how to identify
specific, realistic goals and the steps that are necessary to meet those goals
are bound to be more confident and enthusiastic about school, than kids who are
just in the school building every day on a "sink or swim" basis.
Kids who know how to identify goals and do
what's necessary to reach them are far better equipped to deal with the
stresses and challenges of school than kids who just take each school day as it
comes. Without goals, you are much more likely to procrastinate and become
overwhelmed and stressed out.
So teach a child how to make - and keep -
resolutions the fun way. Tell them that a resolution is like a promise that you
make to yourself - a goal that you and only you can achieve. Since your sons
are pretty young, let's play a little game of pretend. Tell your sons:
Let's pretend . . . you're a FARMER!
A farmer has a goal of making money for his family's daily needs. The
farmer uses land and animals to produce good things to eat for the rest of us.
The farmer's goal, then, is making money, and the way he does it is by making
use of the land and the animals.
To meet his goal, he can't just wait and do all
the work at once. He has to do certain things every day, and every season of the year, at the right time.
For example, he has to make sure the dairy cows
are milked every day. It has
to be a habit that he never breaks. If the farmer forgets for even one day, too
much milk collects in the cow's udder, the cow suffers pain, the milk
production declines, and maybe the cow gets sick and dies, and the farmer
doesn't make any money.
But if the farmer remembers to milk that cow
consistently, every day, and
keeps his resolution to milk the cow, he meets his goal, and everyone wins.
It's the same thing with any goal your child
might have: to get what you want, you have to work toward your goal and
practice good habits every
How can your child remember to do that?
Download and print out this picture, cut it out,
and have your child write his or her New Year's Resolution or goal regarding
school underneath it.
Maybe it'll be to read one paperback book per
Or miss no more than one on spelling tests the
rest of the school year?
Or be able to go through a stack of math flash
cards in one minute because he's memorized his math facts?
Whatever your child's goal is . . . help him
come up with it and write it under the picture of the farmer and the cow.
Then tape it to the bathroom mirror, where your
child will see it every day, and remember the illustration of the dairy farmer
and his DAILY work toward his goal.
Let's say his goal is to read one book per week.
Every day, when he brushes his teeth, he'll see that farmer and cow picture,
and think about what he needs to do THAT DAY to accomplish his goal. Maybe it's
read an extra chapter because he slacked off the night before. Maybe it's
remind you to take him to the library to check out a new book for the coming
week, or go to the second-hand store to pick up some used paperbacks at a
Whatever it takes . . . help your child remember
to moooooove toward the goal, every
Keeping your promises to yourself is a good life
skill. Milk it . . . for all it's worth!
Here's a book that can help you instruct your child in greater detail about
this important life skill: www.goalsettingforstudents.com