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Goal Setting=School Success

By Susan Heid of The Confident Mom

Do you know where your child typically gets his academic motivation from???

For the most part, it is you!  As parents, we have a huge role in influencing our child’s desire to learn and create lifelong habits in the process.

I have to admit; I had not really given goal setting much thought as a parent, until recently.  Both of my older children have truly never struggled in school.  They have easily motivated themselves and been determined to do their best work from an early age. I must have contributed something to these characteristics, but obviously I wasn’t that intentional about it.

Along comes child number three, and as parents we are a little more challenged.  We received a report card just before the holidays and have decided it is time to set some specific goals together with him to hopefully narrow down some specific areas for him to focus on.

Goal setting is a great life skill and it is never too early to start.

Why Set Goals?
In order to succeed in school and in life, children need to develop the skill of self-determination as well as self-motivation.  In other words, they need to be able to make their own decisions, guide their own behavior and take responsibility for their choices. Setting goals can facilitate this process because it helps kids make the connection between their own personal choices and the end results.

Creating Goals

You can begin a discussion of goal-setting simply by asking your child what he hopes to accomplish. While you might have a few suggestions in mind, you’ll want to let this idea percolate for a few days.  It is amazing the difference that can come when you allow your child to be involved in this conversation.  If he feels really heard, they feel more a part of the solution rather than you just telling them what they must do. You might even be surprised to find that the expectations your child has for himself or herself are higher than you imagined.

Developing a Plan

Once your child picks one or two areas to focus on, you’ll want to help him or her develop a plan for accomplishing it. This will most likely include defining the goal, setting a time frame, and making a list of ACTION steps necessary in working toward the goal. You’ll also want to talk about how your child will realize that the goal has been accomplished.  For example:  Our child has an issue with not turning homework in on time, so the goal now is to turn in homework on time.  We then brainstormed ways he could take steps to make this happen, these are the ACTION steps.  Then we decided a time frame to review how we were doing with the goal.  We will review this goal in one month and make any adjustments necessary.

To Reward or Not to Reward

Try to avoid the temptation to dangle financial or tangible rewards in front of your child to achieve success.  The idea behind setting goals is for your child to get a sense of personal achievement that comes from reaching goals.  If your child is always looking for outside rewards to keep him motivated his chance of success in the real world could be quite challenging. Instead, allow your child’s feelings of personal accomplishment to be its own reward.

Celebrating Success

Make sure you acknowledge the work you see your child doing along with way!  Being specific with praise will inspire your child to continue to move forward.  Instead of a “Good job” – let your child know that you see the time and energy he expended in doing his best work the first time. Knowing that you noticed will increase your child’s sense of accomplishment and fortify his or her self-determination.

What goals do you think you could help your child set?  How can you support him to reach those goals?

Susan Heid loves inspiring Christian moms to make small changes managing their home and family life giving them more time, order and less stress! As a Certified Parent Coach and Family Manager Coach she enjoys sharing her expertise with moms through workshops, teleseminars, public speaking, and individual and group coaching.  She is a proud mom, step-mom and foster mom to 3, married to her very own prince charming, loves coffee, cloudy days, and does think the “bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.”  Make sure you get a copy of her FREE ebook, “Getting Kids to Cooperate and Become Team Players.”

Making Your 2011 Goals Happen

Laura Rolands of My Attention Coach

Did you set goals in the beginning of the year?  Maybe you called them resolutions?  Whatever the name, it is necessary to follow up on them to help make sure they happen.

Maybe you set family goals, professional goals or other personal goals.  Whatever goals you have for yourself, action plans and measuring success are key to achieving your success.  Read on for tips on using action plans and measurements to help make your 2011 goals happen.

Action Plans

After setting and prioritizing your goals, your next step is to establish an effective action plan.  It is important to identify the steps you need to take to reach your goals so you have a good roadmap.  Identifying the steps is not enough though.  Each step needs to have a due date associated with it to help you create momentum to move towards your goal.

When developing your action plans, focus on one goal at a time so that you can minimize the distractions to your plan.  Keep the following questions and tips in mind when developing your action plan:

  • Take your strengths into consideration when making your action plan.
  • How can you build on your strengths to implement your action plan?
  • What behaviors are you willing to change or give up to achieve your goal?  Consider how open you are to making this change.
  • Plan in small, manageable steps so that you can act on them in a reasonable amount of time.  Your plan will be less likely to overwhelm you.
  • Post a checklist where you will see it and pay attention to it every day.

Measure Success

Keeping track of your progress can be motivating and help you create forward progress in many ways.  By keeping a measurement of your action plan and goal visible, you can keep your goal front and center with all of the other distractions in your life.  A line chart is sometimes very helpful with this.  By measuring your success you can also help to keep yourself motivated with positive feedback.

A few ways of measuring success include a chart, calendar or journal.  Even just writing a short note to yourself each day on a calendar can be helpful.

How are you doing on working towards your goals?   Let us know how we can help!

Laura Rolands is the founder of LSR Coaching and Consulting, LLC. She is a coach whose passion is to support, lead and inspire independence and success for people who have either been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or who are facing other attention-related challenges. Her clients include individuals with attention-related challenges and/or their parents. If you have any questions or more suggestions to add, please visit her website at

Hit the Rewind Button and Achieve Your Goals

By Jennifer Ascher of Organizing without Limits

It’s the end of February.  Have your New Year’s Resolutions fallen by the wayside and are all but forgotten?   One of the reasons that resolutions don’t work is because they are generally not specific enough, are focused around I want to… (Lose weight, get organized, get rid of debt etc.) and are made with no action plan as to how to go about accomplishing them.  So if resolutions don’t work, what is one to do?

You hit the rewind button and switch your resolutions to very specific, intentional goals. Setting up goals will help you accomplish what you set out to do because they …

  • Are manageable and attainable
  • Are specific and not vague
  • Provide you with laser sharp focus
  • Give you a sense of direction and purpose
  • Require continuous action
  • Give you long-term vision and short term motivation

Now that you know how setting goals will help you. Here are some action steps you can take towards achieving them.

1.       Get very specific with what you want it.

Make sure your goals are simple, clear and focused. Saying you want to get organized is way too broad and overwhelming.  Saying I want to organize my pantry is very specific, clear and meaningful.

2.       Know the Why.

Goals need to have a purpose. Make sure you truly understand why you are investing time and energy in accomplishing said goal. Without the why you will lose motivation and interest.

3.       Write it down, make it a priority and do 3-5 daily tasks that will bring you closer to your goals.

Writing out your goals is an important step to make them a reality. Think of it as a visualization and reinforcement for your brain to keep you from procrastinating and on task.. An easy way to do this is when you write out your to do list for the day. The very first thing on that list should be your goal and the 3-5 intentional, action focused tasks you need to do for the day specific to that goal.

4. Set deadlines and review.

You need a way to gauge your success and see if you are on track. By setting specific deadlines it will enable you to track your progress and adjust fire if need be.

5. Get Help.

If you are having a hard time and are not making progress.  Think about enlisting the help of a coach who can help you. Sometimes you need that support, accountability and guidance from an outside source to keep you on track and motivated. I see this in my clients all the time.

6. Never forget

To stay positive and that action + consistency = results.

Jennifer Ascher (better known as an Organizing Geek among her friends) Professional Organizer and founder of Organizing Without Limits started the company because of her sheer passion for organizing and helping other people. Being a busy mom and business owner, Jennifer understands the importance of getting and staying organized as well as efficient time management. With her hands-on approach Jennifer prides herself on being able to meet client’s needs on a personal level. It is her belief that organizing goes beyond pantries, closets or even time management.  It’s about taking control of your WHOLE LIFE.

Organizing Without Limits provides organizing solutions to transform your life and offers both hands-on and virtual organizing services. You can reach Jennifer at her website, as  well as on Twitter and Facebook.

Creating Trust With Our Children

By Sandra Huber of the The Soulful Parent

February is the month when we reflect on our relationships and their meaning.  We think about love and friendship and the relationships that we value in our lives.

When it comes to relationships and love, our children are definitely near the top of the list. It’s important to remember that we are our children’s first relationship experience and they learn a great deal about love and care and nurturing from their interaction with us. But how do we create that bond, that connection that is so essential for our children’s emotional well being?

In our fast-paced society, where there are a lot of distractions competing for a parent’s attention, forming a strong connection with our children is even more vital. To ensure our children have the best opportunity to reach their greatest potential, we need to create and maintain a strong bond and connection with them throughout their entire childhood, especially at those times when they seem less than “lovable”. We show them how to love and value themselves by being present for them and tending to their emotional needs.

How do you create that bond? By starting with a foundation of love and trust, we teach our kids to trust us by the way we respond to their needs from feeding them when they are hungry to getting the school supplies they need, to listening to them with our undivided attention.

I had the opportunity to practice this with our own 9-year-old daughter this week. She has been struggling with someone at school and is frustrated and angry. She tried to share her point of view and was clearly upset. My first instinct was to give her advice, to try to make it better, to help her find a solution. She kept on trying to get me to listen and because of my own discomfort at seeing her so upset, I wasn’t really listening. Finally she said “mama, is it Ok if you just listen to me and don’t’ tell me what to do? I really just want to tell you about it”.

I took a deep breath and realized that it was that bond, that connection that I have with her, that allowed her to ask me for what she needed. When I can be emotionally available to her and for her, I strengthen our bond, our connection, the trust she has in our relationship and its stability.

When we are consistent in our efforts to discipline, care for and love our children, they learn that the world is indeed a safe place where they can explore their emotions, try out scenarios and know they are loved no matter what. That is what unconditional love is all about!

Sandra is the “soul” and “coach” behind the Soulful Parent. She has worked in Early Intervention, Special Education and has supported many families in the road to successful parenting. She became a PCI Certified Parent Coach® because she’s deeply passionate about changing the world, one family at a time. Sandra believes that life becomes a more enjoyable journey when you lead from your strengths! She can be contacted Sandra {at} thesoulfulparent(.)com and for more information about seminars, presentations and individual coaching services.

Setting Family Priorities

Laura Rolands of My Attention Coach

What are your priorities for 2011? There are so many areas for us to direct our attention, especially as we are still in January. This is still the time of resolutions without a doubt. I would like to share a few ideas with you for setting family priorities and invite you to add your own.

Schedule Time

Schedule time with your spouse and/or kids to talk about family priorities. Go ahead, put it on your family calendar… Okay, back from putting it on the calendar? Good work! Without this important topic of family priorities on the calendar, it is likely that we will forget to discuss it. Talk about what is important to you and your spouse for yourselves and your other family members.

Input from Kids

When you are setting priorities for your family, input from the kids is important. Yes, the parents have the final vote, but your kids may surprise you with some inspirational priorities. Be sure to incorporate their wisdom into your final priorities.


I have heard this idea from many people this year and thought it would be great to share here. Think of a theme for your family this year to help you focus on your priorities. For example, if you want to increase the priority of saving money, you might make the theme something like, “Saving Today for Tomorrow’s Education” to help everyone see the end goal of education. If you want to put priority on giving to others, you could choose a theme like, “Giving is Good for the Heart”. Do you already have a theme for your family?

Important or Urgent?

As you think through your priorities, make a decision if something is important, urgent or both. Use this information to help you and your family prioritize.


Talk about your family priorities with your friends to help gather ideas for family priorities. Remember, this is not a competition, just an opportunity to share and collaborate. In our family, our priority is on spending time with extended family. We are planning a trip to a family wedding and planning a week’s vacation with my husband’s entire family. Share your priorities here to help inspire others!

Laura Rolands is the founder of LSR Coaching and Consulting, LLC. She is a coach whose passion is to support, lead and inspire independence and success for people who have either been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or who are facing other attention-related challenges. Her clients include individuals with attention-related challenges and/or their parents. If you have any questions or more suggestions to add, please visit her website at

Setting Family Goals and Intentions for a Successful 2011

By Sandra Huber of the The Soulful Parent

Can you believe we have started a new decade with New Year 2011?  After the activity of the holidays, the pace has slowed down a bit and the weather is colder. And this time of the year is by far my favorite.  I love it because I believe there’s a great opportunity to start over and decide what things we want to let go with the passing of the old year and what new things we want to hold as our intentions for the New Year.   So many people are focused on their New Year Resolutions right now that you can’t help but feel the excitement of a new opportunity to start over.  My hope for all of us is that we decide that this is the year when we are going to start intentionally practicing the tools that will ultimately give us the results that we want.

Here are some suggestions to make this time of the year and intention setting work for you:

Let Go of the Wrongs

Ask everyone in your family to take some time and write down anything they feel went “wrong” in the previous year.  Nobody has to read it out loud; this is not for the purpose of venting or blaming anyone!  Once everyone’s pieces of paper are gathered, decide on a place where you can safely burn them, a fireplace, a barbeque grill or even just a spot on the backyard.  Even though I always focus on family strength, this exercise helps everyone symbolically let go of what didn’t work and have the opportunity for a fresh, new beginning!

Write Down Your Goals

Asking everyone to write down their goals for the new year is a great opportunity to have everyone’s opinions, hopes and dreams gathered in one place, where each family member can create his own list of goals for the family. Everyone can get together, compare goals and decide what to work on. Be open and listen carefully to what every member of the family has to share from their own lists.

Make a Plan

Now is time to turn these intentions into goals for the family to work on. For example if your spouse wants to see the house more organized and clean, then the goal is “Organization and Cleanliness”, which then would require a system that assigns family members with age/time appropriate tasks to accomplish this goal. Get as specific as necessary to make sure everyone is clear about their respective duties and expectations and you will save a lot of arguing later.  Once the list is put together, have everyone in the family “sign” the agreement. Type it up and print it in nice color paper and put it up on a visible spot in the house (the refrigerator door is a good place!) and “voila”, you have a plan!

Make Them Realistic

Set a realistic time frame.   Following the previous example of organizing and cleaning, it would not be encouraging to expect the entire house to be clean in a week. Setting a date for when you want to expect to have your goals accomplished is important. At home, I like to put reminders around the house to keep my family motivated.   I put the date when the task needs to be completed and some encouraging words (I know you can do this!!) to motivate all of us to keep going!

Revisit The Goals

As the “enthusiasm” wears out in the months to come and we get busy with the business of life keep in mind that you are only human.  Revisit your goals to make sure you have not set the bar unrealistically high and set goals and intentions that are impossible to reach.  This is a great opportunity to teach our kids (and ourselves) the value of discipline and perseverance but also flexibility. Sometimes you need to revisit your goals with your family. It’s important to be aware that sometimes, things don’t go the way we want them to.  But you already know that. You are a mom!

Sandra is the “soul” and “coach” behind the Soulful Parent. She has worked in Early Intervention, Special Education and has supported many families in the road to successful parenting. She became a PCI Certified Parent Coach® because she’s deeply passionate about changing the world, one family at a time. Sandra believes that life becomes a more enjoyable journey when you lead from your strengths! She can be contacted Sandra {at} thesoulfulparent(.)com and for more information about seminars, presentations and individual coaching services.

Fresh Start Idea – Schedule a Night Out with Friends

Today’s Fresh Start idea is to plan a night out with friends.  If you are a mom, then schedule a mom’s night out and if you are a dad, take the reins and schedule a night out with the guys.  Here are a couple of resources to help get you started.

Ten Ideas for Mom’s Night Out

Mom’s Night Out Ideas

Girl’s Night Out

Girls Night In Activities

Dad’s Night Out

Guy’s Night Out Party Ideas

And remember, as busy parents we are ALWAYS tired.  Don’t let this become your excuse because these friendships and relationships are important for our health and well being.

Good luck!

CONNECT for Positive Parent – Teacher Relationships

By: Laura Rolands of My Attention Coach

The key to developing a good relationship with your children’s teachers and schools is to CONNECT with them.  Follow our steps below and a fruitful relationship will be yours to enjoy!

Communicate:  This is the most important thing to do.  Whether your child has any special needs or not, you want to communicate with his or her teacher(s) early in the school year.  If you have not done this yet this year, it isn’t too late.  Send a quick email or make a phone call to initiate the communication.

Offer Suggestions: (Not demands)  By offering suggestions, you signal that you are both an advocate for your child and you are open to other ideas that may work in the teacher’s class.  Ask the teacher for suggestions as well.  We know our kids best, but the teachers know their classroom and curriculum the best.

Notebook:  Keep a notebook of things you need to communicate and questions you have for teachers and other school staff.  Not only will this help you document what has already been communicated, but it will help you keep track of multiple children, teachers and even schools!

Nightly:  Go through your child’s backpack with them every afternoon or evening.  Going through the backpack will help you be sure that you are receiving all information from your child’s school and help keep those communication lines open. As they get older, you will need to give children more independence on this.  If you are able to start early, you will learn more about your child’s organizing style (or lack of one) so you can coach him or her on ways to improve their organization.

Email:  Even though phones are available in most classrooms these days, teachers seem to prefer email communication.  This is such an effective tool for quickly relaying information and checking in teachers and parents.  Be careful though.  Feelings and tone can be misunderstood in writing.  If you are frustrated about something or confused by expectations of your child, it might be best to call and/or schedule an in-person meeting.

Check-in:  Whether by email, phone or in person, it is important to periodically check in with the school and your child’s teachers.  This  helps to prevent crisis communication.

Teachers enjoy teaching:  If you get frustrated with your relationship with your child’s school, remember, teachers chose this profession for a reason.  They enjoy teaching and want the best learning for all of their students.  A positive relationship between parents, schools and teachers is the best way to ensure this positive learning environment for all of our students.

How do you CONNECT with your child’s school?  What works well?  Share your ideas here to continue the learning!

Laura Rolands is the founder of LSR Coaching and Consulting, LLC. She is a coach whose passion is to support, lead and inspire independence and success for people who have either been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or who are facing other attention-related challenges. Her clients include individuals with attention-related challenges and/or their parents. If you have any questions or more suggestions to add, please visit her website at

3 Simple Ways to Create Family Unity

By Susan Heid of The Confident Mom

By now, everyone is back in school and schedules are a little crazy.  Do you find yourself passing each other as one comes in the front door and you go out?  Are you lucky to find time to eat a meal together during the week or even all be in the same room at the same time?  It takes constant work and intentional thinking to keep a family focused and connected and honestly the job lies on the shoulders of moms.

Over my years of working with families and especially overwhelmed moms, I have come up with a few key points that allow this task a little easier.  If we don’t step up to the plate, then who will?  Our role as Keeper of the Home is to create a place where our family can rest, be renewed and feel connected, but if we are never in the home all together how will this happen?

Be at Home – a big concern I have with how families are operating today is that parents are feeling this overwhelming guilt to offer all kinds of activities for their children.  It is rampant!  When a mom comes to me and I ask her to describe her day to me and she proceeds to share a day of taxi driving kids from one activity to another, it is no surprise she is feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time juggling it all.  We are under a false sense that we must provide multiple opportunities for our kids to do “everything” or else they miss out.  Don’t take this the wrong way, I am not saying your kids can’t be involved in an activity, but you have to limit that involvement for the benefit of the family unit.  There is no other way.  If you are continually just passing through your front door and not spending time within its walls you are creating the opposite of what I think most moms want for their family.

I don’t care what size of a family you have you must create some boundaries and guidelines concerning outside activities.  If you do not, then they will control you.  We have a policy in our family that you are allowed one sport/activity per season.  At a few different times music lessons were permitted during the same time a sport or activity was occurring, but it was only when the lesson took place in our home (no driving for me) or at school.  I cannot tell you how this preserved our time as a family.  Although with 3 kids and each doing a sport in the same season, it was difficult and I wanted to change our position, but we made it work.  I was fortunate because none of our kids did a winter sport, so we had an entire season ‘off’ and it was something I could look forward to.

This fall we have only one participating in a sport and the fabulous part is it only takes place on the weekend.  I cannot tell you when I can remember that every day after school my kids are together in our own home.  This also then overflows to us having dinner together, which brings me to another item I am very passionate about.

Meal Time –  The research is there and still we wonder of the value of eating meals together as a family.  For example:

According to a new (2005) Columbia University survey, teenagers who eat with their families at least five times a week are more likely to get better grades in school and much less likely to have substance abuse problems.

A survey of 1,000 teens by the National Center Addiction and Drug Abuse at Columbia University (2008) found that nearly half of teens thought dinnertime was the best time to talk to their parents about something important. More than 80% of the teens in the same survey said they preferred having dinner with their families to eating alone.

The Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development, a joint project between Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and Clark University, found that the discussions that take place at the dinner table are important to children’s speech development. Lively discussions of current events or explanations make a bigger contribution to children’s vocabularies than just saying “Pass the peas.”

So, better grades and less likely to have substance abuse problems, greater opportunity to connect with your teen and better language development.  WOW – I don’t know about you, but we all have to eat so why not make this a priority in order to reap these additional benefits?

If family meal time is missing from your daily or weekly schedule, start incorporating it in.  Take the time to plan dinner, have it be something your family looks forward to, invite some interesting conversation topics (a great resource is Family Table Topics, our family loves this!) talk about your day, ask open ended questions, not the typical “how was your day” instead say, “tell me about your day”  “what was your favorite part”  “what was the worst part”, you will be amazed at what comes out of those simple questions.  Talk about what is in the news depending on the age of your children, just get everyone talking.

If you need help getting a plan together for dinner, check out Emealz or Beyond Beans and Weenies – two great sites that help moms prepare and deliver dinner with less stress!

Laugh Together – Now, this one is often combined with having meals together at our house!  We get into some great conversations that end up making us all laugh and it creates a bonding that nothing else will.  When you can be a little silly at times and share in that laughter, it ignites a different level of connectedness for you and your children.  You can do this at meal time, while playing games, while doing homework, really most anything.  Let your imagination come out.  When your kids see you in a different light rather than always the serious side it changes dynamics for the better.

So what suggestion here can you incorporate this week in your home?  What speaks to your heart and you feel compelled to change?  The intentional action steps you take to make a change for the positive will be well worth it.  You might be met with some resistance at first, but still with what you know in your gut – creating that family unity is one of the primary goals of a mom.  Take it seriously and intentionally and your kids will be blessed!

Susan Heid helps moms get the BIG picture on how their home is functioning and then helps them gain relief with a personalized plan of action to give life changing results.  Susan’s training as a PCI Certified Parent Coach. a Certified Family Manager Coach and a ScreamFree Certified Leader gives her a unique combination to encourage and support busy moms in the art of Home and Family Management.  Empowering Moms and Strengthening Families is her passion.  Are you ready to make positive changes that will impact your family for generations?  You can start by visiting The Confident Mom and requesting her FREE ebook, “Getting Kids to Cooperate and Become Team Players – 10 Essential Strategies and Solutions”.

Strengths: Build the courage to dream

Laura Rolands of My Attention Coach

Helping our kids have the self-confidence that allows them the freedom to dream is a priceless gift.  If your child has a disability, learning differences or another challenge like ADHD, you may find that they do not have the self-confidence in themselves to dream.  Even if they do not have these types of challenges, they may still lack self-confidence which can limit them.

When I think of dreams from a child’s perspective, I want them to think big and go for it. My experience is that a lack of self-confidence often stems from not knowing our own strengths.  There are a number of things that you as a parent can do to help them build this confidence.

Brainstorm with the Family

Talking about strengths can be a great family conversation.  If anyone (including yourself) has a hard time sharing their strengths, have each family member tell the strengths of someone else in the family.  This can be a very uplifting conversation!

Identify Learning Styles or Strengths

Use an on-line tool like to help your child identify their learning strengths.  This can help to build confidence by helping your child identify how they most enjoy learning.  We had this conversation at our house just this week.  One of my kids was expressing extreme dislike for all of the writing assignments he is receiving.  He thinks that talking about the subject or giving a presentation would make much more sense.  I took the opportunity to talk about learning styles and we talked about how he really enjoys verbal learning, but someone else might prefer visual learning.  It gave him a lot of insight and more patience with his writing assignments!

Write a Letter

Chances are that you have a good hold on the strengths of each child in your family.  Take some time and write each of them a brief letter highlighting those strengths.  It will be something to treasure for years to come!

What do you do to help your children identify their strengths?  Has it helped build their self-confidence?  Share your feedback and ideas with us!

Laura Rolands is the founder of LSR Coaching and Consulting, LLC. She is a coach whose passion is to support, lead and inspire independence and success for people who have either been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or who are facing other attention-related challenges. Her clients include individuals with attention-related challenges and/or their parents. If you have any questions or more suggestions to add, please visit her website at

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