get smart: goal setting with your tween

We know with summer rapidly approaching, kids are eager to leave school behind and just relax! The last thing on their minds is planning ahead. However, summer offers a great time to sit down and talk with your tween without all the pressure of homework, what to wear to school and how to squeeze in all those after school activities! Parents can use this time to help their tween learn how to set SMART goals, practice a little over the summer, and then start back to school in the fall with a solid plan.

SMART goals stands for:

  • Specific-The who, what, when, where and why of goals
  • Measurable-How will you know when the goal has been met?
  • Attainable-We're not talking about a goal to meet Princess Kate, right?
  • Relevent-Let's set a goal that matters to all involved
  • Timely-Give it a set time frame: not too long, not to short

The part many people skip over is the very first step: Get specific! Let's say you set a goal with your tween to take on more chores around the house. What does more mean? How long will she have to add on each new chore? Who will decide when it's done? What will happen if the chore isn't completed to Mom & Dad's standards? What happens when the goal is met? What's in it for your tween?

When you and your tween get the hang of setting small, SMART goals, you can help her use these skills to set her own goals. Perhaps she's always wanted to have the fastest sprint in 7th grade, or learn to play guitar or make a new friend at summer camp? When we help tweens learn the value of identifying and breaking down their goals into manageable pieces, they can take these tools and use them to gain confidence as they begin to meet, and exceed, their goals!

If you practice now, by the time school starts in the fall you and your tween will be goal-pros and you can use these steps to make homework less daunting (for both of you)! Fun summer family goals can include planting a vegetable garden, building a house through Habitat for Humanity, or planning a series of road trips that get you to all the state parks within a 4-hour drive. The practice tweens get from collaborating on these goals is invaluable, and they might not even realize they're learning anything along the way because they'll be having such a good time!