Goal Setting with Young Children

Goal Setting with Young Children

Starting a new year has everyone setting resolutions and goals. Most of the time, you see this with adults, but this can also be a great time to sit down with your children and help them learn how to set goals. Setting goals is a great way to motivate, build executive functioning skills, and make improvements. Goal setting doesn’t always come naturally for children, and they need guidance to be able to be successful. There are a few things to keep in mind when helping to teach your child how to set goals. 

from: success


Start by having a discussion with your child, ask them questions that can help them vocalize what they are interested in. “What is something new you want to learn?” “What is something you want to get better at?” “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Help initiate and guide the conversation, but don’t set the goal for your child. They are much more likely to try and to succeed at a goal if they are the one to set the goal. 

A great tool to help your child figure out what they want their goal to be is using the SMART goal! S: specific, simple, significant, sensible. M: measurable, meaningful, motivating. A: achievable, attainable, actionable. R: relevant, reasonable, realistic, result-based. T: time-bound, time-based, time-limited. 

from: families magazine


Once you’ve discussed goals with your child, help them write the goal down. This helps clearly define the goal. Writing down a goal will help your child be more likely to accomplish their goal. Help your child understand the steps it takes to achieve their goal. Help your child write down the steps needed to make progress towards their goal. This may mean discussing smaller, simpler goals your child will reach before getting to that big, final goal. A timeline for each step can be added and may help your child visualize the path to their goal easier. 

from: minno


Once your child has set their goal, it’s not over! You are there to guide them to their goal, cheer them along the way, and continue to help them until they get to their goal! It could be fun to make some sort of poster or reminder and let them display it in their room to keep them focused on the goal they set. Maybe you talk about their goal each day, week, or month. Discuss what is working, if something needs to change or isn’t working. Celebrate the small victories they make along the way! 

We hope you and your child can both learn and grow from setting goals and working together to achieve them! Your children trust you, working with them to reach a goal will only help build your relationship. So here’s to you and your family, and reaching all your goals in 2024!