How to Spark It

Mon, 05 Jul, 2021

Teaching Goal Setting to Children Made Easy for Parents Importance, Examples and Methods

Goal Setting for Kids

Your child may have the potential to do great things in life, but if they aren’t focused, they won’t be able to accomplish what they are perfectly capable of.

If you feel your child has the potential to excel in school or life, but they aren’t trying hard enough, you can help them set goals and meet them, one small step at a time.

What is Goal Setting, and Why is Goal Setting Important for Kids?

Goal setting is making a plan to achieve something for the future. For example, making a study plan for an upcoming test is goal setting. If a child wants to become an astronaut, it becomes a goal of their life. 

A lot of people set goals in life, but not everyone is successful. The people who succeed are the ones who plan and consistently works towards achieving their goals.  

Importance of Goal Setting in Your Child’s Success

Goal setting is all about planning for how to achieve a particular goal or a target. It is observed that children with goals, big and small, tend to perform better than kids without any goals.  

Here are five ways goal setting helps your child become a smart kid:  

1. Gives focus, purpose and direction

When your child sets goals, it gives them a purpose and a clear pathway to success. This prevents them from becoming frustrated, overwhelmed, or discouraged. Goal setting encourages them to spend their time and energy on activities that contribute to their goals.

2. Increases motivation

When a big goal is broken down into smaller manageable steps, achieving them is easier, making your child feel a sense of accomplishment. This motivates them to achieve the big goal and succeed.

3. Teaches preparedness and time management 

When your child has a clear plan and knows the steps to achieve the goal, they do not waste time in procrastination. This means setting goals teaches them time management, planning, and organization skills to use in their everyday lives.

4. Boosts self-confidence

As your child makes progress in achieving their goals, it boosts self-confidence. This is great for their self-image, empowering them to set ambitious future goals and tackle them with less anxiety.

5. Measures progress

Setting clear goals allows your child to see how far they have come and how much is yet to achieve. This helps them to track their progress and motivates them to continue working towards achieving their goals.

Teaching Kids How to Set Goals and Help Achieve Them!

You probably won’t get your child excited about the concept of establishing targets and working toward them right away. There are strategies involved, and in this section, we’ll go through a few strategies that will help you teach your child how to set goals and achieve them.  

1. Start Small

If you are introducing the concept of goal setting, start with small goals. Set up weekly or monthly targets and then gradually move on to bigger goals. Achieving smaller targets will help your child be determined and motivated to achieve the big goal.

2. Allow Your Child to Decide Their “Big Goal”

When your child chooses their big goal, they will be genuinely and intrinsically motivated to succeed. However, you may need to help your child identify what they genuinely want to accomplish. You may ask questions like: “What’s one challenge you want to overcome?” or “What is it that you want to achieve?”

Brainstorm with your child to decide the goal. However, ensure that the goal is specific and can be measured and tracked. For example, a big goal can be “I’ll score 10% higher in Maths this year.”

3. Let Your Child See the Purpose of the Goal

When a child sees the purpose behind achieving a goal, they tend to perform better. So, make sure your child understand the “WHY” behind the goal and see a purpose for what they’re learning.

For example, if a child has a goal and purpose like, “I want good grades in Science so I can discover and invent things that can help people,” it stands a better chance at being successful.

4. Break the Big Goal Into Smaller Steps

The big goal must be neither too challenging nor too easy, and it should be able to sustain your child motivation for a long time period.

Help your child break their big goal into smaller short-term steps. A string of small, incremental goals can help your child stay motivated to continue their efforts in reaching for their big goal, step by step, while celebrating the small wins along the way.

To help your child adopt a step-by-step approach, create a goal ladder. Write the big goal at the top of the ladder and then write the steps (small goals) to achieve it. 

For example, if your child’s big goal is to learn to ride a bike, here’s how a goal ladder should look like:

Big Goal: Learn to ride a bike

Small goal 1: Watch mom, dad or older sibling ride a bike.

Small goal 2: Learn to ride a bike with training wheels.

Small goal 3: Ride the bike with mom, dad or older sibling, helping you balance the bike.

Small goal 4: Ride the bike independently.

5. Brainstorm Potential Challenges 

Once your child has decided on the goal, brainstorm the idea to identify potential obstacles and challenges. This is important because you don’t want the unforeseen difficulties to derail your child’s motivation to achieve the goal. Create a plan to overcome these obstacles as they occur.

6. Give Them a Reality Check

Children often don’t realize how difficult it can be to meet a goal. They may feel frustrated when things don’t go their way. They may even consider giving up. Therefore, it’s important that your child understands what it takes to accomplish a goal.

For example, if your child wants to learn football. Show encouragement but be realistic. Explain the challenges they may come across and also point out the dedication it will require. By doing so, you are not discouraging them but preparing them to work hard, face challenges and not quit if they fail.

7. Boil It all Down to a Concise Five-Step Plan

For example, if your child’s big goal is to get better grades in Maths, it should be a well-thought 5-step process.

Step 1: Write down the goal. “I want to get better grades in Maths.”

Step 2: Make it specific.  “I want to get an A+ by the end of this year.”

Step 3: Write down the pros and cons.

Pros: I will understand the concept better, I will be a top performer in the class for maths

Cons: I will have to cut down on my leisure time, I will need to prepare myself for hard work and the challenges I might encounter   

Step 4: Identify small steps (small incremental goals).

Help your kid come up with small goals by asking them these three questions:

  • Who can help? Parents, older siblings, and teachers

  • What do you need to do? Practice more, understand concepts better

  • When? 45 minutes thrice a week

Step 5: Monitor and measure progress.

Take tests and get feedback from parents and teachers.

Start teaching your child how to set goals as early as possible so they can develop their goal-setting skills as they grow up. With these tips and strategies, we hope you and your child will understand the importance of goal setting and learn how to set goals that can help your child succeed in life.