Setting goals each year is not just for adults. Goal setting is a life skill that kids can learn and use to bring their dreams and aspirations closer to reality. Here are some tips that can be used to help even young kids set goals.
- Introduce goal setting by asking your child to come up with one or two simple but specific things he would like to complete in the short term, like finishing up an extra credit school project. These short-term goals provide a way to practice goal setting and prepare him to work towards more complex, long-term goals. The goals should be specific enough that you can assign criteria for completion and set a completion date. Once he feels the great sense of satisfaction that comes with successfully completing this short-term goal, he will be all fired up and ready to take on a more complex one.
- Let your child decide on what his long-term goals will be. You can ask him questions about what he wishes he could accomplish and inquire about the purpose of his goal to ensure it is not too vague, but do not select the goals for him. Your role is to teach him the process of selecting goals, prioritizing goals, and working to achieve them.
- Once your child has selected a goal, help him analyze it and break it down into smaller steps. Help your child assign dates for completing these smaller pieces and on those dates, help him review his progress. If your child does not complete the step by the date he assigned to it, review the steps he had laid out to reach his goal to ensure the steps were clearly defined and the dates were not too ambitious. However, do not criticize him for not meeting the goal.
- As your child progresses through the steps to reach his goal, praise him when you see him putting a lot of effort towards reaching it and especially praise him for using his problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles. The journey towards the goal is just as important as the goal itself.