It's exciting to listen to our kids share their big dreams about the future, isn't it? As parents, we can help our children meet those big-picture goals by teaching them now about goal setting for kids.
Goal setting teaches kids commitment, perseverance and the importance of time management.
But setting goals with kids doesn't have to be scary or hard. I want to share what I'm learning about goal setting with kids.
Here's how I encourage my kids to set goals (whether it's New Years or any time).
3 Reasons Why Goal Setting for Kids Is Important
1) Kids have purpose and can set goals to meet that purpose.
When we teach kids about goal setting we're subconsciously telling them that they have significance and that their life has purpose, even as a child.
2) Kids can do hard things and need goal setting strategies to accomplish those tasks.
Goal setting reminds kids that yes, they can do big things and hard things. I love this scripture in 1 Timothy 4:12 that says, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
3) Goal setting is a great way for kids to be challenged to become their best selves.
When kids set goals, they're able to experiment (under the watchful guidance of a parent) what it's like to grow and change for the better. Goal setting is a wonderful way to teach kids that there is always room for self-improvement.
5 Ways to Encourage Goal Setting in Your Kids
1) Make goal setting a regular conversation with your kids.
Goal setting doesn't have to be formal or intense. Goal setting can start small (and not even be labeled as “setting a goal”). Listen to what your child is interested in, and help him or her set goals that match his or her current interests.
2) Avoid a power struggle by guiding kids toward a goal instead of assigning one to them.
Intrinsic motivation has been shown over and over as the best motivator, so capitalize on this when helping a child set goals. Instead of telling a child what the goal should be, listen deeper to what he or she is truly longing for and suggest tangible action plans that can help them meet that goal.
For example, my son is on a basketball team and wants to improve his stamina, especially as it relates to moving quickly to the other side of the court. My first thought was “That boy needs to be doing sprints everyday!”
However, to avoid a power struggle, I asked him a series of questions such as, “What do you think is the best way to increase your stamina? What are some good activities that will make you faster on the court? How often do you think it make sense to do this?” He came up with the idea to start running a few days a week up and down the hill on our street.
3) Teach kids about SMART goal setting with this free goal setting worksheet.
The SMART goal setting method was originally penned by George Doran in 1981 and has been widely used in various management and goal setting curricula.
SMART is an acronym that stands for setting goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely.
4) Give a child room to succeed or fail when setting goals.
We are crippling our kids if we set them up to always succeed at their goals. Yes, you read that right.
While we would never plan to intentionally sabotage our child's goals, I'm suggesting that we allow kids to experience the natural consequences that come from meeting or not meeting a goal. We need to help our kids make goals that are a challenge that requires perseverance.
Let's say your child decides to set a goal: He wants to practice an instrument daily in order to be good enough to try out for a special performance team. He starts off with good intentions, but his practice time slowly becomes less and less frequent.
It's clear he's not ready for the tryouts, however, I would suggest that the child still try out for the special performance team instead of just sloughing it off.
Like the rest of us, kids need to experience both the elation of meeting a goal and the disappointment of not making a goal. We can learn so much about ourselves from both sides of the process, can't we?
5) Let your child see you set hard goals and achieve them.
Inspiration is an incredible motivator to success. What a wonderful example of sacrifice and diligence we set for our kids when we establish goals and work hard toward them! It's a great way to teach kids about commitment.
I share my personal goals with my kids often. I want them to see that there is always something to work toward and to be excited about!
3 Books that Inspire Kids for Goal Setting
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low ExpectationsThe Purpose Driven Life Devotional for KidsThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Goal Setting Planners for Kids
Here's a simple, free printable calendar (in kid-friendly colors) from Short Stop Designs that children would like.
Or, let your kids pick one of these exciting goal setting planners (Doesn't a pretty planner always inspire you? It sure inspires me for goal setting!)
InnerGuide Planners, Daily Checklist for KIDS, 90-Page, Daily Tear-Off Planning Note Pad (6.5 x 9) Do Good, Feel Good!Weird But True Daily Planner: 365 Days to Fill With School, Sports, Friends, and Fun!Student Planner for the 2017 – 2018 School Year for Middle School / High School Kids – By School DatebooksTwone Animal Weekly Planner – Organizers for Kids – 7.5Dated Elementary Planner for Academic Year 2017-2018 (Matrix Style – 8.5
Other Goal Setting for Kids Resources
- Ultimate List of Books and Movies About Perseverance for Kids
- How to Teach Kids Time Management Skills
- What is SMART Goal Setting?
- 11 Practical Ways to Teach Kids About Commitment
- 6 Huge Goal Setting Mistakes (and How to Prevent Them)
- Why Acceptance Is the Secret to Successful Goal Setting
- The Secret to Goal Motivation (It's Not Just About Pushing Harder)
About Alicia Michelle
Alicia Michelle is a certified NeuroCoach™, Bible teacher, speaker and host of The Christian Mindset Coach Podcast and You Tube Show. More importantly, she’s a lover of Jesus, a wife of 21 years to her best friend, and mom of four amazing kids ages 19 to 10. Alicia struggled with overthinking, negative thoughts and “being enough” for most of her adult life until God radically transformed her heart after a life-threatening medical crisis. Now through her signature courses and coaching programs she loves equipping women with practical, scientific and biblically-based mindset tools to help them overcome negative thought patterns and discover more confident, joyful lives in Christ. Listen to her on the podcast or on You Tube; download free workshop trainings at VibrantChristianLiving.com; and connect on Facebook and Instagram.
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