More than likely you remember back when you were a child. You were probably asked over and over again, “What will you be when you grow up?” We’ve all gone through that at some point, and more than likely you wanted to be just like your parents at that age. It may be time you start asking your kids this same question. Why? Well, it’s important that they begin thinking about the future, what they want to be, and how to accomplish the goals that they may have. Here is a look at why it’s important to start teaching your kids to set goals now and a few tips that you can use as you work to teach them to set and reach those goals.
Benefits of Teaching Kids to Set Goals
You may be wondering why it’s so important to start teaching goal setting to your kids right now. There are actually many benefits of teaching kids to set goals while they are young. One of the main benefits of teaching your children to set goals is to help them secure a great future. As a parent, you have the job to help children prepare for being adults. This means we need to teach them fundamental skills for success – one of which is goal setting.
Goal setting is going to benefit your child in the short term. As you teach them how to set and reach their own goals, they’ll be able to implement those lessons into their life right now. They can use goal setting to do well in school, to accomplish things in sports, or even to learn to play an instrument. Of course, there are benefits in the long term as well. Children that learn to set goals while they are young will grow up knowing how to set and reach their goals, leading them to success.
Kids that learn about goal setting will be better able to manage their personal finances, which will help them eliminate a lot of stress and unhappiness from their life. They’ll learn how to set excellent health goals as well so they are fit and healthy. Goal setting will help them learn about motivation, achievement, and organization. All of these critical life skills are rooted in learning how to set goals, which is why this is such an important thing to teach our kids.
Tips for Helping Your Child Set and Reach Their Goals
So, how can you help your child learn about goal setting and how to set and reach their own goals in life? Here are a few tips and suggestions that will help you as you pass on this important skill to your child.
Tip #1 – Talk to Your Child About Their Interests
The first thing you should do is talk to your child about their interests. In order to come up with goals for your child to set, you need to know what they really enjoy. Allow your child to talk to you about their interests and make sure you listen. Many parents make the mistake of setting goals for their children – the goals that they have in mind. You must consider your child’s interests as you work to teach them about goal setting. When you know what your child is interested in, it becomes much easier to come up with goals.
Tip #2 – Help Them Set Short Term Goals First
After you know their interests, help your child to set a short term goal first. If kids do not first learn how to set and reach short term goals, reaching long term goals will seem too discouraging to them. Something as simple as completing their homework on time can be a great first time short term goal. Consider their maturity level as you come up with the right length of time for this short term goal. Having a shorter term for the goal can help motivate kids to keep setting goals, since they will reach success faster.
Tip #3 – Help Them Come Up with Some Long Term Goals Too
Once your child learns to set and reach short term goals, help them to come up with some long term goals as well. Some great long term goals include making good grades for a quarter in school, making a sports team, or even getting into a particular college. Since long term goals are a bit more difficult to reach, consider breaking these long term goals into shorter term goals so that they stay focused on the end result.
Tip #4 – Develop a Plan of Action for Meeting Goals
Whenever you help your child set a goal, you need to teach them to develop a plan of action for meeting that goal. Help them outline a plan for reaching the goal. It can be a plan that goes hour by hour or day by day until they reach their goal. This way they realize there is really a way that their goal can be reached.
Tip #5 – Teach Your Child to Overcome Obstacles
Sometimes obstacles occur as we are trying to accomplish our goals. Kids definitely need to learn about obstacles and how to overcome them. This is one of the most important things you can teach them as you work on goal setting. For every achievement, there are obstacles that have to be overcome. Use motivation techniques to help your child get through obstacles and teach them that the obstacles are only temporary.
Tip #6 – Check in From Time to Time
It’s a good idea to check in with your child from time to time to see how your child is doing on accomplishing their goals. Ask a few questions that will help your child to see how they are accomplishing steps that will lead to reaching the goal. You may even want to discuss a few ways that their strategy can be improved upon next time they set a goal.
Remember, as you work to teach your children about goal setting, you need to set an example. You can do this by making some promises to your kids and then make sure you fulfill them, which will illustrate your lessons on setting goals. When you set the example, it is easier for your kids to learn how to set and reach goals by following in your footsteps.