Help Your Kids Score New Goals

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Setting goals is one thing. Completing them is quite another. Parents can help their children learn important life lessons about setting and achieving both long-term and short-term goals.

Achieving goals one by one helps a child grow more self-assured and motivated to succeed. Ask your children to choose an objective, such as getting better grades in school or buying something they want. Help them break it down into smaller steps, such as studying an hour each night or creating a list of chores they can do to raise money. Discuss any obstacles that may occur and ask them how best to remedy them. Leave the decision-making process up to your kids to foster a sense of independence and improve their problem-solving abilities.

Goal setting for younger children

Precisely how to encourage kids to set and achieve goals depends upon their age. While teens already understand the concept, younger children may need a way to visualize the process. Have them draw a ladder or steps and note what’s required to reach each new level. Offer encouragement when they have trouble and reward each new accomplishment with positive verbal reinforcement.

Help them achieve their goals

For example, a child may want to become an actor. Steps might include signing up for the drama club at school, reading plays, taking an acting class outside of school, auditioning for roles, and so on. Discuss the pros and cons of each step. A con might be: Outside classes may take away from studies. A pro would be: You can make new friends and become more at ease in social situations. Before beginning each step, kids might ponder such questions as, “Who can
help?” “What do I need?” and “How long will it take?”

Ask them why they’ve chosen certain goals so they can maintain a sense of purpose for each achievement. Remind
them that every setback contains a silver lining. What did they learn about themselves and how can they revise their actions to succeed better next time? We’re all so used to instant gratification. Help your kids understand the importance of perseverance and patience—great goals for all of us.