The SMART Framework of goal setting – A must know for all parents

By Geetanjali Padoshi

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We more often than not expect our kids to have goals in life. We do indulge and pamper them, but have certain expectations from them in terms of behavior, manners, communication, their thoughts and views. Often, we give them a leeway when they are young but the rigidity increases as they progress from kindergarten to their teenage years.

As a parent we always are on the lookout for doing the right thing for them, providing them with all the learning opportunities. This is done with the intention of helping the child identify her / his passion, hone the personality, learn talents that would help her / him in studies and life as well. Well, this intention is indeed noble. Yet often, it leads to frustration for the parent and the kids alike. The initiation of any action is done with a result in mind. When the desired result is not seen, it leads to negativity. This SMART Framework can help all in these scenarios.

The SMART Framework of goal setting refers to –
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

It is a proven management mantra that has been used by professionals of all walks of life. The same framework can help parents set realistic goals for their kids, work towards them and see the results. Secondly, it can also act as a guide for kids as they embark on the journey to independence as they grow.

Parents can help kids in starting this journey by working on it together, guiding them and mentoring them. The collaborative journey helps the kids not only set realistic goals but parents too refrain themselves from being too expecting of their kids.
Let us now understand the framework-

1. SPECIFIC – We often hear parents and kids alike saying the following – I want to learn coloring, I want to learn tables, I want my child to keep the room tidy, my child must help in household chores. All these are ambiguous goals. We can help set specific goals using the 5W. Who, What, When, Where And Which.
Let’s look at the goal of keeping the room tidy. A specific goal would be –
I would ask my child(who) to put his clothes & books(what) in the cupboard( where) before going to play(when).

2. MEASURABLE – Whenever we ask kids their hobbies they talk about drawing or singing or sports. It doesn’t stop at that. They want to be the next Picasso or Sunidhi Chouhan / Justin Beiber or Ronaldo. These are immeasurable goals. Parents can help them set small sub-goals that would help them see how they work towards it and realize when it’s achieved.
For example a kid wants to become a famous youtuber. It’s easier said than done. Let him/ her start with the creation of their channel, upload videos and set a small target of say 50 subscribers in a month. This would help them work towards it step by step.

3. ACHIEVABLE – It is very important for the parents to make the kids aware about what would be possible in a given time frame and what would not be. For example, a child might want to win a prestigious debate competition. Considering that the child has just started his / her oratory journey, getting selected as one of the five students from his / her school for the said competition would be an achievable goal rather than winning it by clearing the three rounds of the competition.
Parents must take all possible efforts to make the child realize his / her potential at present and agree to help them in bettering it. Setting unachievable goals leads to dejection, sense of failure and loss of confidence. This must be avoided at all costs.

4. RELEVANT – These are the goals where the child has an inherent interest and is not under any pressure to follow or pursue them. Kids join hobby classes just because their friends join or their parents want them to. A case in point would be a child who wants to pursue martial arts but joins swimming classes as his friends have joined. The child would not enjoy the activity of swimming at all as his interest lies in martial arts.

As parents, here we must realize that our kids may have their own choices which we may not relate to and find difficult to agree to. We must however put them first and let them follow what they like.

5. TIMELY / TIME BOUND- All things in our lives are time bound. Goals are no exception. Giving timelines to goal setting helps put them in a time frame and makes us take actionable steps accordingly. For example, if a child wants to study for the upcoming exams, making a time bound schedule for each subject down to the details of each chapter and topics therein would help him know the amount of hours he needs to study daily. Even simple things like play time need to have a time schedule so that a proper regime can be followed.

These simple steps can help all to achieve the desirable. So when are you starting with the SMART framework for your child?

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