Setting goals for the new school year


            This is the optimum time to have a family conversation about setting goals for the new school year. In doing so, two messages that you convey to your children will serve them during their school days as well as in their lives thereafter:

            1.  The key to your success is in your own hands. When you take responsibility for your actions, you make your success happen. Nobody else can do this for you.

            2.  If you have a plan, you cannot fail. You decide what your plan is and figure out step by step how to make it work.

            With this in mind, each member of the family considers what improvements she wants to make for the new school year, based on last yearís problems. Some of the possibilities may be: always late to school, unfinished homework, or chronically losing school papers.

            I offer this sequence to help you move find solutions with your family:

            1. Figure out what the problem is. Each person has a different perspective, so listen carefully to what everyone has to say.

            2. Talk about what you are currently doing about the problem. Maybe you are not doing anything - just letting it continue as it is.

            3. Brainstorm all the possible solutions to the problem. Accept all answers. It doesnít mean that you will necessarily use them all.

            4. Decide as a group to get behind one of the solutions. Everyone has to agree to be part of the same approach and give it a chance to work.

            5. Give it a try for at least a week. This will give you a chance to see if it is working.

            6. Plan a meeting at the end of the week to evaluate how the solution is working. At this time you can decide to continue with the same actions or switch other ones.

            Having everyone work together on solutions to problems helps to create a feeling of solidarity in the family. After all, you are all on the same team!

            Much success to you all during the new school year.  

            This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

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