Helping Your Child Set and Reach Their Goals

“New Year, New Me,” is a phrase often repeated around this time of the year. Some people associate the beginning of the year with getting a fresh start or a new chapter in their lives. Some people even will try to set goals for the new year or resolutions. Whether you believe in setting goals in January or June, it can be hard to stick to them especially if you get your child involved. There are various ways to track goals such as a personal journal, a calendar, a vision board, or something someone can see every day that will remind them to stay motivated.

Liz Overpeck, a therapist at Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program believes building motivation is the first step to helping your child set and reach their goals. She recommends encouraging “what if” scenarios with your child.

       “Ask them what it would be like to do a certain thing or how would something change how they feel about themselves or live.”

       This step helps the thinking process for your child. By doing this, your child is thinking about what positive changes they are willing to make in their lives whether it’s a social, personal, or educational goal. Having a goal that relates to the child’s life will keep them interested and will hopefully help them hold themselves accountable for accomplishing their goals. Parents can also use this step to help their children come up with goals if they are struggling.

       The second step is to make sure your child is being specific with their goals. Overpeck says being specific helps measure success when it comes to the goal.

       “Instead of saying ‘I want better grades,’ they could say they would like a B+ in Math.”

        According to the SMART criteria, a person looking to create a goal should try to be as specific as possible. This involves asking themselves why they want to achieve this certain goal, the importance of the goal, and who is involved with creating the goal.

       Overpeck also suggests making sure your child’s goal is timely. This helps set an end-date. This also helps with being specific. Have your child try to put a date on when to reach their goal by. Overpeck says by doing this, you can create check-in points and deadlines.

       The final step suggested by Overpeck is to collaborate on a reward. Having a reward could help your child with motivation. Overpeck recommends working together on a reward that is proportionate to the effort put into achieving the goal.


Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program

YCC’s Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 725-6662.

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