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Goal Setting for Children: What You Should Know

Teaching goal setting to children is an important lesson that needs to be taught starting at a young age.

Early childhood education teaches young children the core social skills that will prepare them as they advance.

These skills boost children’s confidence, increase their ability to build strong relationships with peers, and help them easily adapt to new environments and react the proper way during certain situations.

If you’re a parent or even a teacher, your end goal is obviously to see that your children succeed in life.

We want them to be efficient problem solvers, great leaders, set goals and achieve them.

Setting goals and learning to work hard and smart towards these goals teach children perseverance — a very important skill that they can learn to develop while young, and eventually be a useful skill as they grow older.

Goal setting for children is important because it gives them a sense of purpose. It guides them towards the right path. As children, they are easily distracted and lose focus with a snap.

Having set goals helps remedy this by giving them clear directions and the right work ethic and mentality to have.


How to Set Goals

goal setting notebook

Goal setting for children may be a new concept for most kids, but just like brushing their teeth or going to bed early, goal setting must become a habit.

The idea for effective goal setting for children is to get them aboard in thinking long term, planning ahead, and taking action in order to achieve results.

Achievable and effective goals for children should be:

  • Realistic
  • Something they want to achieve and not forced onto them
  • Within their skills and abilities to achieve

Hitting these points when setting goals for children can drastically help them achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.


Goal Setting for Children and the Steps you can Follow

book with goals text

 1. Identify a Goal – If you’re a teacher or a parent, ask your children about their dreams and aspirations, what they want to reach or what they want to become.

Explain that for them to reach these aspirations and dreams, they have to set goals. Completing these goals will help them get closer to their dreams.

Set a goal to score at least 8/10 on the next quiz, or never be late for the rest of the month. No matter how big or small the goal is, you want them to persevere in achieving these goals.


2. Establish a Time Frame – Make sure to set a time frame that is realistic. For young children, goals should be kept simple and easy to achieve.

Once they understand goal setting and have experienced the positive results that come with it, they’ll be more eager to set more goals, and of course, strive hard to complete them.

Goals with shorter timeframes are better suited for children, so they’d be able to immediately experience the fruits of their hard work much sooner. This could be by the hour or by the end of the day. Let them experience the fulfillment of accomplishing short-term goals so they get to be accustomed to it. Eventually, they’ll transition to long-term goals.


3. Think Through the Steps to Achieve the Goal – Help children think through how they will go about and achieve the goals set. It would greatly help if you let your kids write down or even draw their course of action for their goals — whatever works best.

This helps children visualise a concrete action plan on how to go about achieving their set goals. Visualisation is important for children, don’t take it for granted.


4. Track Goals and Celebrate When Goals are Met – As soon as goals have been set and written down, have a tracker set up just to monitor if your child’s taking the necessary steps in order to achieve the goals you set.

Once these goals have been met, don’t forget to celebrate. Let children feel the joy and fulfillment of completing set goals. Let them experience what it takes before they can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Once they understand this, setting long-term goals in the future will come naturally, and goal setting for children will indeed turn into a good habit that will set them up for success.

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