Goal Setting and Achievement
You want to teach your kids to set goals, get to work on them, and ultimately achieve them. How can parents and babysitters help kids with this life lesson?
- Talk to your kids about the goal setting, progress, and achievement in your own life.
- Talk with your kids about what goals they would like to set for themselves. Younger kids should have short-term goals. Teens can establish longer-term goals (i.e., college and career planning).
- Write down the goals you have agreed upon. Each goal should be recorded on a separate piece of paper or poster board.
- Talk with your kids about what steps they think they need to take to achieve their goals. Each step toward goal achievement should be discussed.
- On the goal papers or poster boards referenced in #3 above, record the steps to goal achievement.
- Post the papers or poster boards in a location that is highly visible to your kids.
- Periodically review your kids’ progress relative to their goals.
- Praise your kids when they successfully achieve steps along the way to goal achievement.
- Encourage your kids (or redirect your kids, depending on the nature of the goal) when steps are not achieved.
- Periodically review the goals and their steps to ensure that the goals continue to be achievable and that the steps remain the best or most realistic means to achieve the goals. (Note: many young kids lack perseverance. Don’t let your kids easily wander from one goal to another without goal achievement or valid reason for the change of heart. For example, if one of your kids set “save money to buy the music box I like” as her goal two months ago, but she’s not made as much money as she wanted so she now wants to abandon that goal for something more fun, perhaps it’s best to allow her to add the fun goal while still pursuing the original goal as well.)
- If your kids cannot achieve one or more of their goals, do a goal post-mortem. Without being accusatory, try to determine what went wrong and what can be done to ensure that the next goals set will more likely be achieved. (Note: there may need to be consequences for some goals not being achieved. For example, in the examples above, if one of your kids had getting an “all ‘A’ report card” as her goal, but she got two failing grades instead, a consequence may be warranted.)
- Celebrate with your kids when they achieve their goals. Goal achievement, for most kids, is a reward in itself. However, celebrations in recognition of goal achievement reinforce the benefits of goal achievement. So, have a pizza night and let your kids choose the kind of pizza they want. Or give them an extra hour to stay up one evening. Or celebrate in whatever way you and your kids think best.
By following these 12 steps, you can help your kids set and achieve their goals.
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