How To Help Your Child Make & Meet Goals (without being overbearing)

Jan 6, 2021 | Walnut Creek

Dear Parents of Walnut Creek,


Is it okay to make goals for your child?




Would you want someone making goals for you?  Heavens, no!


But, that doesn’t mean parents can’t tap into the momentum of the New Year to help their children improve.


WhatsApp Image 2020-12-16 at 5.32.42 AM


Here’s how to set goals together:


#1.  Share a specific goal you have for yourself and your own plan for completing the goal, ask your child to help hold you accountable if you start to slip. The accountability piece is American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) study found you have a 65% likelihood of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And, shockingly, that regularly being held accountable by a person will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.  Wow.  Let's look at how this could play out in a real parent-child situation.


Real life example:

Mom: Guess what my goal for 2021 is?

Child: Umm, I don't know. What?

Mom: I want to ride my bike to work twice per week to save on gas and get in shape. I set reminders on my phone to go off every Tuesday & Friday night so that I remember to leave early the next morning. Do you think I can pull it off?

Child: Yeah. You can do it.

Mom: Okay, but I'm going to need your help. If I start to get lazy and drive, will you call me out?

Child: Ha, sure Mom.


#2.  Ask your child what they want to improve in this year.  LISTEN to them.  Nudge them in the right direction (“What subject would you like to improve in at school?”) if needed, but don't pick a goal for them. This is a big no no!


Real life example:

Mom: What is your goal for 2021?

Child: I don't have one yet.

Mom: What do you want to improve in?

Child: I want to get better at the guitar.

Mom: That's a great goal.


#3.  Help them set small, realistic steps to reach their goals, and remember to be supportive. If you can't offer them the support they need to be successful, seek it out elsewhere.


Real life example:

Mom: What's your plan to become a better guitarist?

Child: I guess to practice more.

Mom: The more specific you are, the more likely you'll actually complete your goal. How much and what type of practice do you have in mind?

Child: I heard I should play every day. Maybe like 20 mins?

Mom: That would be great. What can I do to help support you without driving you crazy?

Child: I actually want to get back into lessons.


#4.  Plan rewards along the journey as milestones are completed.  (They can be small). This might not seem necessary at the start of the goal reaching quest, but the truth is that a few weeks or months from the time you start working to your goal, life will throw a curve ball! You might not have the zest to keep biking to work on a cold Friday morning, or practice the guitar after school. Rewards can help develop grit & stick-to-it-iveness.


It's also important to remember that different people are motivated by different things. So, let your child help determine which rewards will motivate them.


Real life small reward examples:


Child reward idea: For every week of perfect practice (seven 20 minute sessions) the parent pitches in $10 toward a new guitar.


Mom reward idea: Once 20 bike rides to work are accomplished, one Netflix binge-watching late night is allowed.


As you are honest and vulnerable your child will be too!  2021 will be a year of bonding & improvement for both parent and child.


If math improvement is on your child's goal list for 2021, Mathnasium of Walnut Creek is up for the challenge. We have a support system (and rewards system) built into our teaching model that matches what experts teach as the best way to accomplish goals.