Basics of Goal Setting with Children

Many adults find it difficult to reach their goals because as children they were not
taught how to identify what they want, how to ask for it, how to figure out the steps for
reaching goals, or how to follow through on the steps. We need to start on this early
with our children by helping them to see that it is important to set goals, to clearly and
specifically ask for what they want, and how to figure out what steps they need to
complete to reach their goal. How you address these will depend on where your child is
at developmentally.
We are our children’s greatest teachers and so it is important that through our own
actions we show the importance of goal setting and how we make it a part of our daily
lives. By our children being aware that we set goals, that we make time to review our
progress on our goals, and involving them in celebrating the milestones toward our
goals they learn the importance and fundamentals of goal setting.
The fundamentals we have to keep in mind when setting goals are that we have to:
• Write down exactly what you want to achieve in as clear and simple a manner as
• Set a deadline for achieving the goal.
• Develop a plan for reaching goal.
• Break down each goal into manageable steps in your plan.
• Regularly review your progress toward your goal.
• Own the goal by having it aligned with your values and priorities.
When teaching our children to set goals there are some keys for ensuring that our
children are successful. The first is to simply ask our children what they want. This
opens the door for them to let their creativity flow and to think about the things that
appeal to them. The next is to really listen to them talk about their desires and dreams.
With this we need to make sure that we don’t interfere or distract them with our own
biases and fears. This is truly all about them. It is also important that we don’t inject
our own goals and desires into their list. Most children will shut down if you tell them

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