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Teaching Children How to Set Goals and Reach Them



We all want our children to find happiness and be successful in their pursuits in this life. Helping our children along the path to finding out how to do that begins with teaching our children how to set and attain goals.

Helping children learn how to set goals and achieve them isn’t so hard. In fact many parents have already helped their young children achieve goals without knowing they did. Just think back to when you were potty training them. Sticker charts and bean jars are all ways you have helped your children to achieve a goal. You may not have thought of potty training, walking, tying shoes, or learning math facts as goals, but they really are.

Just as adults like to set goals at the New Year, you can sit down with your older children and talk with them about what they want to accomplish this year. Perhaps they want to do better at a sport or they may want to learn a new skill like playing an instrument. They may have a goal to visit new places, learn how to cook, or read a long book.

You can have an enjoyable evening with your children talking to them about what THEY want to accomplish this year. What are their DREAMS and GOALS?

Here is a suggested outline for your talk:

  • Set aside an evening or weekend afternoon to talk to your child.
  • Have paper and pencil for them to write if they can, otherwise you do the writing.
  • Briefly introduce the subject of goals by talking to them about what goals are, mention a goal you have or have recently achieved that was fun for you, be excited and encouraging.
  • Have them write a list of goals or things they want to do this year, both short term and long term.
  • Pick one or two to work on. Don’t try to work on them all at once.
  • Start simple and help your child to come up with a list of small steps that will help them work toward that goal. Helping them come up with the small steps instead of you outlining it will get them excited and they will most likely want to achieve the goal if it is THEIR goal and plan and not yours.
  • Think of small, inexpensive rewards your child could give themself for reaching the steps toward their larger goal. This will help motivate them to keep going. It could just be a chart they use to measure their progress.
  • Decide how often you and your child will sit down and review their progress towards their goals and calendar it so you don’t forget.
  • Post their goals somewhere where they will see them everyday to remind them.

Free Goal Worksheet

Keep in mind that goals should be:

  • Realistic for their age and circumstances
  • Broken into small steps to reach the goal
  • Measurable so your child can see progress within a short time period

Once they have reached their goal, use that energy and excitement they have to help them come up with another goal they want to achieve.

I’d love to hear comments about goals you and your children have for this coming year.

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