Goal Setting for Young Children - Teaching Children the Basics of Goal Setting
By Andrew Loh
Teaching setting goals to children could be a complicated exercise
because of several steps involved in the process. As a parent, you may
need to explain and describe how different phases of goal setting work
and in what manner children could use these steps to attain success
levels that they want to achieve. Goal setting program consists of a
series of steps and ways and children should follow them before reaching
the goalpost. Here are seven simple steps to teach and train children
how to set goals and achieve them.
Let your children know the basic definition of goal
Children are known to work on their own goals even though they do it unintentionally. You can
define and explain goals in a simple and easygoing manner. Try to link
the term goals to areas of activities that children are usually familiar
with like fire fighting, catching thieves, playing hickey and football.
Children usually fantasize while playing games or doing their work.
Although fantasizing is a form of dreaming, it is not focused nor is it
realistic because one may not be able to relate it to the realm of
achieving goals. However, consistent practice and workout might help
children crystallize fantasies and convert them into meaningful goals.
For example, you may wish to say the following:
goal is your dartboard upon which you can shoot your darts.”
“A player who plays hockey keeps trying to score a goal and he plays for
“In life, you can try to achieve many useful things
just like in sports. It is almost shooting for a goal in your life. You
try to achieve something that enriches your life.”
people do work and do something to get what they want in life. It is
almost similar to winning a game of football.”
you may wish to study hard to achieve your goal of scoring the best
marks in class.”
“Planning to work involves developing
necessary skills and you will need to work on them. This planning is
what you call goal setting.”
“Goal setting will help you
succeed wherever you go.”
Sharing your goals and objectives
To encourage your children, you may want to sit down with your children and share
your own goals, objectives and previous instances of successful goal
setting. Share your dreams and aspirations with your children. Let
children's goal setting be doable and easy. A typical goal setting
system would have the following workable model:
I will (would) +what +when, where
I will is mandatory
because all goal-setting programs should start with I, because
achieving goals is a personal exercise.
The second part always contains two keywords: what and when.
Here, goal setting is always specific and it stresses on these keywords to suggest
the importance of context of goal setting. The main keywords are
“what do you want to achieve?” and “when do you want to achieve
“I will clean garden and water all
plants by six o' clock in the evening”
“I will complete my
project work by eight o' clock in the evening”
“I will study
hard, score good marks and pass out of the class by this yearend”
Working on a dream list
Your children should
know that all goals start with a list of dreams. Give them a sheet of
paper and ask to write a list of their dreams. Let them list one by one
according to their priorities. Also, ask them what they want to improve
from their current skills. Let the list be realistic and true to the
spirit of goal setting. You should remember that the dreams that your
children list should be achievable and children should have necessary
skills and knowledge to make goal setting a reality. Another important
issue is the period within which children should achieve their goals.
Let the dream list contain topics related to school, classroom, studies
and tests apart from mentioning some from sports area.
Tailor goal-setting programs to the needs of your children
All children are impatient and they want to taste success as soon as
they write down the list. Divide the lost into three categories - short
term, medium term and long term. Some of the examples are as
Short term - Writing a test at the weekend, attending a
competition on Sunday, with just seven days time to prepare for the
Medium term - Getting good grade for midterm exam that is
three months away.
Long term - Getting good grade for final exam
that is a year away.
Let your children think and act
through the entire process to taste success
The key to goal setting success is the manner in which children think and act, and
the way in which they identify their resolutions. Clear and solid goals
will help them understand the process in a better manner.
All goals are achieved through climbing one-step at a time. It is like
climbing up the staircase slowly and reaching the top floor after some
time. Before reaching the top floor, the person who wants to reach the
top should write a list of things that needs to done so the process of
transition from one-step to the other becomes easier.
Watch, track and observe children's goal progress and suggest
Make charts and visual reminders to track
the progress. Similarly, each activity should be written down on a sheet
of paper and evaluated at the end of the day so that corrections and
improvements could be made to make the process simpler. You can create a
bulletin board to write down all completed steps of the goal process.
Reward children after reaching the goalpost
Once the desired success level is reached, you may need to sit down
with your children and conduct a brainstorming session to find out
weaknesses and lacunae in the entire process. Do not forget to reward
your children for their great success. Once they taste and celebrate
success, you can suggest them to repeat the exercise and keep doing it
throughout their life.
Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child
By James Taylor, Ph.D
Now available in paperback, Positive Pushing gives parents clear and balanced instruction
on how to encourage children just enough to produce a happy, successful, satisfied achiever.
Taylor, an experienced achievement consultant, believes that, pushed properly, children will
grow into adults ready to tackle life's many challenges.
In building a model of successful achievers, Taylor skewers the self-esteem movement for
protecting kids from disappointment and mistakes--the very experiences that build sturdy
self-regard. He urges parents to separate their needs from their children's. His marching
orders are clear and compelling: guide kids to discover a passion; express love apart from
achievement; create a human being, not a "human doing"; use boundaries to construct a safe
harbor; and demand accountability.