Helping Kids Set Goals

Setting and achieving goals can be a powerful experience for adults.  Why not help our kids set and achieve goals as well?

Helping Kids Set Goals

One of the most formative experiences early in my life was achieving various goals that I had set for myself.  They were not elaborate goals;  one was to become an aerobic instructor at the women’s gym that I frequented, and the other was to work my way up to being a waitress at the high-end French restaurant where I worked.  After achieving these goals, I distinctly remember the feeling of confidence I had in pursuing future goals.

How to Help Kids Set Goals

Helping your kids to set, plan for and achieve goals for themselves can give them confidence as they grow as well. Here are some simple steps to helping your kids to set goals:

Inspire them.   Start by sharing your own story of achieving goals, how you did it and how you felt afterwards.

Brainstorm ideas.  Have a discussion about ideas.  Encourage your kids to throw out their ideas for goals they would like to achieve in the coming months.  You may be surprised by what you hear!  Remember, this is not your list of goals for your children, rather, this is your child’s goals for themselves.  However, you may need to steer your kids to more realistic goals in the beginning.  We want them to experience success if at all possible.  After they have experienced success in achieving their goals, they will be ready for bigger goals.

Set a time frame for achieving these goals.  Setting a time by which your child hopes to achieve their goals helps with planning.  This time frame can be changed later, if necessary.  For example, if your child wants to make the All Star soccer team next year, the goal would set for the beginning of soccer season.

Plan for success.  Brainstorm some steps that your child will need to take to achieve their goals.  Breaking up the steps into manageable chunks helps reduce the sense of overwhelm that can come with a big goal.  In our soccer example above, the steps for achieving this goal might be:  practicing daily, finding a buddy to practice with, watching YouTube videos of soccer techniques, saving money to go to soccer camp, etc.

Set up some accountability.  This could be as simple as a list that your child posts in their bedroom or a monthly goal setting meeting with the whole family.  Many New Year’s resolutions are dropped because there is a lack of planning and accountability.

Step back mom.  While it is important that  you encourage your children in reaching their goals, it is even more important that they succeed (or fail) on their own.  In doing this, kids will know that their success or failure was their own doing.  These are powerful lessons for our young people.  Encouraging responsibility for their choices will make the reaching of the goal more sweet and the failure to reach the goal (because of their own lack of effort) a powerful lesson.

Walking with your kids through setting and achieving goals will help them to find more purpose in their lives and give them experience with overcoming obstacles that are two life skills every person needs.  Kids who purposefully achieve goals, however small, are building a mentality of self-confidence.

Have you helped your kids set and achieve goals?  Tell us about it in the comments below!



Marianne Sunderland

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  1. I have just created a board for us to write our goals. We are just about to make those goals! Thank you so much for the tips. I knew it was important, but was having a hard time putting it on their level. Thanks again!

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