The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Are Your Kids on "The Right Track" ?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Are Your Kids on "The Right Track" ?

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

Are your kids on the right track? Great!  But will they stay there?  How can you tell if they'll stay there?  First, you and your children must identify the destination for their track.  In other words, make a list of goals.  Those goals might include short-term goals like saving money for a new iPod, mid-term goals like passing the next math test, and long-term goals like becoming a veterinarian.  All of those "destinations" are on the right track to success.  But, as Will Rogers reminds parents, unless your children actually do something to achieve those goals, they'll sit on the tracks without ever reaching their destination.

So, what can you do?  I recommend my favorite tool - a progress chart.  Make your own, or get one from the Internet.  However, try to resist the simply act of placing a star on a chart to indicate progress.  This tells the child little more than they had a good day or several good days in a row.  Create a chart where the child can write in his little successess toward the bigger goal.  For example, if his goal is to buy a new iPod and he gets $20 in a birthday card, he might write $5 from birthday money toward iPod.  Total today: $17.50; Needed: $134.  Now he sees the whole picture as a sum of its parts, a great lesson for any young saver!  And you don't need to offer any additional external rewards - showing progress will be an internal reward for your child, and that's the best kind of reward.

The reward chart can have the short term, mid-erm, and long-term goals all together so your child can see the even bigger picture.  Remember to add dates at the top of the chart so eveyone can see daily or weekly progress.  Your child will thank you when she becomes the CEO of a major corporation, the mother of her own children, or family financial manager!

Happy Parenting!

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