Setting Goals WITH Children

Why is it important to set goals with children? Setting goals with children helps increase their self-esteem and creates productive behaviors and attitudes. Goals also start positive habit-making at an early age teaching responsibility and structure. The more a person sets goals, the more likely they are to accomplish them. Goals also inspire children to challenge themselves to try and participate in new things. Setting goals with your child instead of for them sets them up for success!

Here are some tips to help your child set goals. Firstly, let your child choose their goal. Ask them questions such as “what is something you would like to achieve?” or “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Open-ended questions are great to ask children so their mind can start the decision-making process. It is also important to make sure that the goal is measurable. This helps track progress to see improvement. Secondly, discuss with your child the purpose of the goal. Ask questions such as “what is your intention with this goal?” or “who does this help and how?” This helps the child understand what intentions are. “Why does this goal matter? Why do I want to achieve this?” It is also crucial to help create steps to achieve the goal. Figure out what the necessary steps are to achieve the goal and write them down together with your child. This is something to refer to if the child is feeling stuck or might need a little motivation. Writing down steps and goals also increases the chances of successfully completing them. Lastly, consider potential obstacles. Have realistic conversations about any of the problems that might arise whilst achieve the goal. Provide support and unconditional positive regard to your child. Remind them of their purpose, and what to do when an obstacle occurs, celebrate the productive steps and their ambition, and emphasize positive self-talk.

Here are some goals that can be applied. These can be added to daily routines. Begin with attempting these goals once or twice a week and then progressively implement them however fits best.

  1. Get organized. Clean up toys after playing with them each time. Clean room once each week. Put all supplies away after use.
  2. Find a hobby that you enjoy and spend time doing it at least twice each week.
  3. Set family time aside each week. This can include time to play games together, talk about feelings, do outdoor activities, and more. Help your child work on sharing toys with friends and family. Also, help them try to have respectful conversations with siblings, instead of fighting.
  4. Limit the amount of social media and video games use. Start by determining the amount of social media and video game use per day or week. Use “screen-time” to automatically stop social media use at specific times if needed.
  5. Create a productive new morning and nighttime routine.
  6. Work on procrastination. Help your child eat all healthy meals on time and drink more water. Also, guide them to complete homework before it is due. Agendas and calendars can come in handy with this.
  7. Create specific goals that apply to your child’s needs.

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