Helping Kids Set Goals

With the holidays on their way, I thought it would be a great time to talk about helping kids set goals.  Every New Year’s Day, we sit down as a family over breakfast and set goals for the upcoming year.   I keep reading more and more about the importance of having a Growth Mindset for kids & how to help kids set goals is part of it.

From trips we’d like to take to projects we’d like to do around the house, there’s something on the list for everyone and for every season. Setting goals is important for us as parents, but teaching our kids about goal setting is equally as important. When kids set goals, they’re motivated and focused – two things that will serve them well across all areas of their lives.

Helping Kids Set Goals:  Teaching kids to set their own goals

Now, when you think about the goals that kids can set, you might think only about school. Our kids think about things like completing badges in Scouts and building new forts in the backyard. 

Helping Kids Set Goals Independently

We’re really big on encouraging them to set goals that push them out of their comfort zone and challenge them, but you don’t want them to be so big that they can’t be attained.

If you’re not sure how to start helping your kids set goals, try some of these areas to focus on first. You’ll be surprised how many ideas they will come up with!

School Goals for kids

If your child is struggling in school, it might be wise for them to set some academic goals that encourage them to do better. It doesn’t have to be straight As, but it can be something like: “Get a letter grade better on the final than I did on the mid-term” or “Score 90% or above on all of my spelling tests.”

When I taught, I always let my children keep a journal of their scores.  They had bar graphs that they colored in after each test.  They were able to watch themselves improve with proper studying, or decline due to a lack of studying.  I’ve never seen a strategy work so well to help kids get motivated, then seeing it in a graph every week. 

Whatever academic goals are appropriate for your child are the ones he should set.

Don’t forget to ask them to share their goals with you, so that you can help them stay on track and cheer them on!

Activity Goals for kids

My kids like to play sports, but not all kids do. One of your child’s goals might be to go for a walk a few times a week or play with the dog after school. For your athletic child, a goal might be to run a mile in under 11 minutes or swim a lap in a certain amount of time.

Almost any goal that includes movement and activity is going to be good for your child’s well-being, so don’t be afraid to encourage movement!

Healthy Eating Goals for kids

We’ve been through the “beige food only” phase of childhood where the only thing my kids would eat was beige food. Thankfully, they’ve come out of their eating shell and have experimented with other colors of food too. One way they did it was to set a goal of trying one new fruit or vegetable a week.

So, for an entire year, we sampled common and uncommon fruits and veggies. There were some they loved and others that they’d be happy never to have again. The great thing was that it was their goal to make the change and it ultimately changed their eating habits.

Make Sure Kids Aim High When Goal-Setting!

So, whether kids are setting goals to improve socially, academically, or physically, helping kids set own goals and aim high is the key. The personal satisfaction that comes from achieving a goal is not something that can be taught – it must be something they experience for themselves.

Be sure to share your goals with them too, so that they can cheer you on as you work toward achieving them!

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