According to research usually, by the age of 7 kids understand the concept of goal setting since they start to think critically at that age.
The ability for kids to reach for the stars and do their best does not come out of the blue. It is a concept that is taught to them from a young age.
Kids who have goals- whether it’s academic, sporting, personal ones or other activities- tend to do better and feel happier than those with no plans.
Goal setting activities will help your kids develop the ability to deal with setbacks which they may face during different certain stages of their life.
Other reasons why your kids should learn about goal setting:
- Gives them a sense of purpose which improves confidence
- Teach them the importance of planning ahead and critical thinking
- Fostering a can-do attitude from a young age
- Motivate kids to achieve smaller goals on a regular basis
As adults, we need to encourage children to believe that they can dream big and if they are persistent enough they can achieve it.
So how do we teach kids to set goals?
Below I show you some simple steps to teach kids about goal setting along with activities and worksheets you can use with them.
How to teach kids about goal setting?
1. Let your kids create a “wishlist”
You can help your kids create a list of goals for them.
Create a separate heading for each type of goal category. For instance, academic, personal, sporting, etc. Under each category create a list of things they would like to achieve.
While you help them with the heading category, leave it to them to create their own wishlist. They will be more motivated to go after the goals they set themselves than that impose to them by their parents.
The wishlist does not have to be something really big. It can be a small idea, for example, reading 10 minutes a day, making their bed in the morning, etc.
Don’t forget to check out the printables made especially for kids focusing on mindfulness and a growth mindset
2. Create small goals
Like I mentioned earlier start with smaller goals. If the goals are very big and need years to be achieved your kids will not be motivated to go after it.
Smaller, measurable and achievable goals are more inspiring for kids. Don’t force your kids to go after something that is unattainable.
Start with something they can achieve by the end of the week. This will give them the confidence to follow through on their goals.
Keep in mind, that every child is different. While some kids prefer smaller goals, there are kids that go after bigger ones. Define the goals based on what you think is best for your child.
3. Use a goal setting worksheet
Goals need to be written down so kids are reminded of it.
You can use the goal-setting worksheet below and create an A5 folder for them so they will always have a reminder of their goals. This also makes goal setting a fun activity and project.
Besides the goal-setting worksheet, the printables below also has daily journaling pages so your kids can practice gratitude and feel happier.
Having all this in an A5 folder will act like their little scrapbook where they can brainstorm ideas and reflect on their emotions.
4. Talk about the importance of their goals
Your kids need to understand “WHY” they need to work towards their goals.
WHY are the goals important? And the purpose of the goal.
In order to get them excited about the goals they need to know the “WHY”.
Whenever possible think about the extension of the goal. What this means is that besides it being for a personal gain, find a reason how the goal can benefit others.
For instance, your child decides to learn to code so they can create their own video game. It will be helpful if you can extend that thought into something like:
“I want to learn to code so I can create a video game so that all my friends can play together and not feel left out”
Help your child extend that thought by asking them questions like “How will this goal help others?” or “How will your friend?s”
By finding a bigger purpose to their goals your kids will be inspired to work towards it. Also, don’t forget you are teaching them kindness at the same time.
Don’t forget to check out the printables aimed at helping kids manage anxiety
5. Discuss obstacles with your child and what you can do if your child is giving up on their goals.
Life can get very busy for a child. From school homework, outing with friends, extracurricular activities and many more. Some time goals can be left behind.
It is best to plan for obstacles ahead so they don’t lose their motivation.
For example, if you know you will be taking a summer break or be going out for the weekend then include that in the weekly goal. This way your child knows that for that week the goal might not be achieved.
If a goal is not attained because they need more time than anticipated then include that in their potential obstacles. A child can give up on something they set to do just because they need more time but do not have the patience for it.
Let them know the importance of perseverance and how obstacles and failures are also part of learning.
Use real-life examples of people who had to work hard to achieve their goals. Print out the list of failure stories below and include this into your child’s A5 folder.
Inspirational stories like this can prevent your child from giving up or even developing negative thoughts.
Using the printables you are preparing your child to face any challenges that they will come across in their life.
6. How to reward your child for achieving their goals?
Knowing that there is a reward at the end of the week can be very exciting for your child.
The reward does not have to be something big. For instance, for a small goal, you can prepare a star chart and fill that in.
Depending on how big or small the goal is to reward them appropriately. Do keep in mind you do not want to start with a big reward as they will keep expecting that.
It is best to keep rewards to be very simple and small.
Use the Goal Setting Worksheets and take some time out to discuss with your child the goals they would like to accomplish for the rest of the year.
Step 1 : Let your child create their own wishlist
Step 2 : Create small goals
Step 3 : Discuss the importance of the goals with your kids
Step 4: Think about potential obstacles
Step 5: Share inspirational failure stories with your kids
Step 6 : Reward your kids with a job well done.
Don’t forget that goal setting should be a fun activity so keep it simple and have a nice time helping your kids create their goals 🙂
Finally, before you go don’t forget to check this out
Children’s online safety book- teach them about internet safety from a young age. For 3 -10 years old