Goal Setting for Kids

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Diving into a new year often means setting a new list of goals or resolutions. Creating goals for yourself can help to kickstart new habits and help you feel motivated. Goal setting is just as important and impactful for kids and taking the time to teach them to set goals effectively is a big piece of that puzzle. 

Benefits of Goal Setting 

For kids, setting goals can help them understand how to plan to get what they want, which instills a critical life skill and can teach them to take ownership of their behavior. Creating clear goals at any age will help create focus, help in decision making, and provide motivation.  

Goal Writing 

You may have heard of the popular SMART acronym for goals. It stands for:  

Specific: Ask your child the “Who, What, Why, When, and Where” questions to narrow down their goal. A specific goal states exactly what will happen and leaves little to interpretation. 

Ex: I will count to 100 in three minutes by March 14th.  

Measurable: If the goal is measurable, you can determine if you have reached it.  

Attainable: A goal should be something that can reasonably happen but is not within the child’s current ability. Flying to the moon in 2021 might not be realistic but saving allowance for a NASA museum ticket can be attained.  

Relevant: All goals should be relevant to the child’s life and timeline. For someone in primary school, setting a goal about college is not within their current scope of relevance. Creating a shorter-term goal that is more applicable to their daily life will be easier to plan and achieve.  

Timely: Create deadlines and milestones toward the goal to show progress.  

Goal Brainstorm 

Start by getting some crafty supplies ready and tell your kids to write or draw their dream or goal. Once they have a big-picture goal in mind, they can begin to work together to narrow their focus and create something that follows the SMART guidelines. 

Help them write out their finalized goals on a piece of paper or something that you can display in their room. They can decorate the photo or write other things on it that will help them feel motivated. 

Bring the goal to life by having conversations about how it will feel to achieve their goal or how it will impact other people in their life; this will help them visualize the process and the goal in more detail. 

Next Steps 

Many times, children will face setbacks and obstacles on the way to achieving their goals. By discussing possible obstacles you can help plan strategies or mindsets that they can use to overcome hard times.  

Goal Examples 

Goals will look a little different for everyone. The most popular resolutions for adults include improving health, spending more time with family and friends, saving money, and spending less time online. Some great goals for kids include: 

  • I will get an A in Math this term. 

  • I will learn to tie my new shoes before my birthday. 

  • I will save enough money from chores to go to the science museum in March. 


TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.