Need some ideas for how to help your kids reach their goals this year? Here are five tips to get them from setting the goal to actually accomplishing it.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which we’re members of, recently came out with a goal setting program for children and teens ages 7-18. Since my son is 9, I’ve been thinking a lot about kids and goals. In the past, I wrote a blog about helping your kids set goals. You can read that here.
Today I wanted to do a follow up to that post and talk about what comes next. You’ve helped your kids set goals. They’re excited to learn and grow and push themselves. You’re excited to watch them. There’s lots of enthusiasm and energy and motivation.
But what happens in a few weeks (or even days) when that energy starts to wane? How do we keep our kids going and get them from point A: setting the goal to point B: actually accomplishing it?
Today I want to share 5 tips for setting your kids up for success with their goals. I also included a free printable I made for my kids to set their goals for the new Children and Youth program, found at the bottom of the post.
Tip #1: Break Goals Down
A goal can seem really overwhelming for kids. There’s so much to do to get from where they are now to checking that goal off. But if you break it down into small, manageable tasks or time frames, they seem a lot less daunting.
Taking the time when you set the goal, or shortly after, to help your kids break them into simple steps makes a ton of difference! I know that for me, when I have a huge project I need to get done, I feel super overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. But if I simply break it down into smaller tasks, I feel ready to tackle it, bit by bit by bit. Our kids are the same way!
For example, if their goal is to read a chapter book on their own, you could break it down into chapters, increments of five pages, or ten minute reading sessions.
If their goal is to learn to how tie their shoes, you can break it down into steps, like:
- Watch mom or dad tie their shoe three times in a row.
- Watch a YouTube video that teaches the steps.
- Practice the first part of tying.
- Practice the second part of tying.
Think about the specific goal and find the best way to break it down into manageable pieces.
Tip #2: Make Goals a Family Effort
Get the whole family involved in each other’s goals! This will help kids feel supported and will give them that extra boost of confidence to keep trying when things get hard.
This might look like other family members attending soccer games for a kid whose goal is to learn how to play soccer. Or it might be working together to help a kid raise money for the local pet shelter. It could be an older sibling teaching a younger sibling how to ride a bike or shoot a basket. There are plenty of ways for the whole family to get involved—from brainstorming to teaching to cheerleading to working side by side.
Tip #3: Work Goals into a Routine
If possible, find a way to work their goal into a daily or weekly routine. Maybe they work on their goal every day right after school for ten minutes. Or maybe it’s something they do on Saturday afternoons for an hour or two.
Instead of feeling stressed or trying to remember to work on it or feeling guilty it’s just not happening, the goal becomes a natural part of your life. Plus, when you make working toward goals part of your daily routine, it becomes a habit.They don’t have to think about it (and neither do you), it just becomes a part of who they are.
Tip #4: Use a Tracking System
Using some sort of tracking system for goals helps kids stay motivated and focused.
For one thing, having the visual is a great reminder to keep working on the goal. It keeps it at the forefront of their minds.
And second, it helps them see their progress and feel like they’re actually making some headway. That’s super motivating for kids!
When you feel like you’re working hard at something and not seeing any results, it can be pretty disheartening. By using a tracking system, you help kids visualize the progress they’re making day-by-day, no matter how small it might be.
Tip #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Use Rewards
Rewards can be super helpful! Obviously some kids respond better to them than others, but rewards are a pretty universal motivator–at least to some degree.
You can have the reward be from you or they can create a reward themselves. And it doesn’t have to be something that costs money. Maybe they get to skip a day of chores, stay up past their bedtime, or read extra books with mom.
You can even tie the reward to the goal. Like if they want to read four books a month, they get to pick out a new book at the end of each month they reach their goal. Or if they want to practice basketball outside of team practice for an hour a week for three months, they get to attend a college or NBA game when they’ve done it. Get creative with it!
Helping Our Kids Achieve Their Goals
Setting the goal is only half the battle. Okay, it’s really more like 1% of the battle. It’s reaching them that’s difficult. By taking a little extra time up front to help our kids come up with a real plan, we get them one step closer to accomplishing their goals and dreams.
When they get to the finish line and see that they did it, they’re going to feel a whole lot of confidence and motivation to try more new and difficult things. And that’s an incredible gift for us to give them!
How do you help your kids achieve their goals? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you want a copy of the printable goal setting sheet I made for my kids, you can download it here or by clicking on the image below:
If you want more tips on kids and goals, I wrote a guest post for Seek Learning all about helping kids set goals. You can read it here.
Check out these other goal related posts:
- 5 Habits to Stick to Your Goals
- 3 Reasons to Set Goals and Plan Your Year
- Making a Birthday Bucket List