Why is goal setting important?
Goal setting for children is important because it gives them a sense of purpose that can improve their confidence and build their self-esteem. It also helps them to focus and make better decisions. Along with this, goal setting can be used to motivate children by ensuring that they achieve smaller goals on a regular basis.
Kids who have goals – whether sporting, academic, or even personal ones – will do better in life than kids with no plan at all. With this in mind, teach your children the necessity of goal setting and how to actually go about it.
Show enthusiasm when they speak about their interests and, if appropriate; help them set their own goals to achieve. Children are naturally great goal-setters. They all know what they want to be “when they grow up” and this makes for the beginnings of goal setting.
As adults, we should try to encourage and develop these early ideas into the powerful belief that they can go for their big dream, and that it will come true if they work hard enough to achieve it.
How to set goals
Goal setting may be something new to kids, but just like brushing their teeth or studying every day, we want goal setting to become a habit for them. So, since they’re just starting out, it’s important to keep in mind that the emphasis should be on the process itself, not just on the end result which is the achievement of goals.
The idea with goal setting for kids is to get them started in the life-long frame of mind of thinking, planning and taking action in order to achieve results.
Goal setting tips
Make it easy on yourself. Start out with a simple goal that is effortlessly achieved. Here’s an example of a process which can be easily replicated:
- Start the process by looking for ways that your child already uses goal-setting techniques. Discuss the steps that he needed to take in order to get what he wanted. Talk to him about how good it feels to accomplish something that you’ve worked toward. Then, discuss how these same techniques can be used to meet other challenges.
- Think of a fun goal that will be achievable in a short time, e.g. “If you help mommy by doing some laundry care chores, such as hanging up the clothes, for a week, you can go out and buy a certain toy to the value of R?.”
- Have your child write this on a piece of paper. You could stick a picture of the toy next to the words, and place it up on the wall where it can be used as a reminder and seen everyday.
- Prepare a star chart where your child can monitor his progress each day and how close he is to achieving his goal.
- Think of a special surprise for him if he manages to stick to the plan and achieve his goal.
Your child may not always achieve his goals this is especially true when the goals are linked to academics or even extra-curricular activities where a lot of factors are involved. In sport, there may just be stronger and faster kids out there.
Even if your child hasn’t reached his ultimate goal, he will have learnt a few valuable lessons about planning and goal setting and should have noticed measurable improvements along the way. More importantly, he has probably learned some things about himself. It’s also important to tell him not to lose faith when he fails to achieve a goal.
After all, life doesn’t always turn out as planned. Encourage him not to give up on dreams that are important to him.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” - Tony Robbins