Nifty vs. Thrifty

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goal Setting for Children

Goal setting is a skill that keeps adults on track and helps us to stay grounded but what can we do to help our children stay focused and attain their goals as well? If a child is able to practice goal setting effectively, than he/she will be able to learn the important skills of time management, organization, and (as a result) building positive self esteem.

I always say that succes is a loose term and should be defined by the individual. I believe that my child will also only be successful if she can meet her own goals (not mine). I will be very careful to not define success for her. But, I also want to give her the skills she needs to meet her goals and feel confident in the little successes in life. So, I came up with a little skill setting exercise...


Ask your child what they want. Ask them to be specific and tell them to picture themselves doing (or having that). Have them close their eyes and visualize the goal or draw a picture of what it will look like.

Set Goals

Whether your child would like to build a huge Lego castle, save money for something cool, or make a good grade, have your child write it down. Then, ask your child to write down a plan (or explain) what they are going to do to attain their goal.

Show Support

Google information about the subject. Find people that have accomplished the same goals that your child is working toward. Make yourself knowledgeable (at least a little bit!) about the subject and try to create an environment where your child feels that can accomplish their goals.

Tell your child a story about something that you wanted (and accomplished) that was not easy for you. Explain how it took time, patience, focus and perseverance. Never say that what they want is impossible or silly. Instead, ask them how that will happen if it sounds outlandish.

Next, follow up by asking your child [occasionally] how they are making out with their goals. Take time to listen to their response (yes that means putting down your cell phone and stopping what you are doing!) and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them with their plans.

Finally, plan a party or something special (even it's their favorite dinner or an ice cream treat) when they accomplish their goal. Make sure it's a surprise because you don't want it to be the sole reason why their wish to fulfil their goals. The most effective payoff is their own pride for accomplishing the task and the joy they feel associated with that result is something they will cherish and remember in the future.

Remember, the goal that your child sets today will probably change tomorrow...and that's OK! The important thing is to show them how to organize their thoughts, set their goals, and feel pride in the steps leading to their accomplishments. Also, letting them know that you believe in them and what they want to accomplish.

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