Goal-Setting for Kids: Why It's Important to Start NOW!
Summit seventh grader Alexia Alvarado wasn't doing very well in school last year: "I was failing classes and missing assignments and work. I felt bad and began to think I wasn't smart enough, but I wanted to make a change and improve." She started coming to Summit's One-On-One Program and Summer Olympics Program, and with the help of her mentors, started setting goals to get herself back on track.
"I used to hate Reading and my other classes, and started getting behind. But then I started setting weekly goals at Summit to be more organized and to set aside time for homework and reading, and I began improving!"
Mentors at Summit help students set 5 weekly goals on their "All-Star Goal Sheet" that they fill out after discussing what the student needs to work on, focusing both on developing virtues and academic skills. Students track the goals they achieved during the week, which could be as simple as "Read 30 minutes every day," or "Clean up my room before my mom asks me."
Why is Goal-Setting important for kids?
Purpose - Having a strong sense of purpose can improve a child's confidence to succeed. It is something meaningful and worthwhile to aim for.
Focus - Having goals helps kids make better decisions. Will a certain activity get them closer to a goal, or take them farther away?
Motivation - Because goals are meaningful and personal, a kid will want to achieve them. Having goals in their lives gives them motivation and the energy to keep going.
By helping kids to set goals at a young age, they will start gaining a life-long skill for thinking, planning, and taking action in order to achieve results.
Summit Student Alexia has seen first-hand how setting and achieving goals has helped her. "I am seeing dramatic improvements in my academics - especially in Math - and I have more confidence in myself now." She acknowledges that it wasn't easy getting to where she is now: it took a lot of hard work! But both she and her parents are very pleased with her improvements, and she plans to continue to work hard in school.
Why would she want to do this? Because Alexia already has big goals for her future, and she knows that little goals, like getting good grades next fall, will help her reach her long-term goal of going to college. "I want something more for myself. Both of my parents dropped out of high school, but I want a better future and a good job one day."