Teaching kids to set goals

Teaching kids to set goals with girl writing note in note book.

Teaching kids to set goals

It’s common for parents to share a sense of frustration when their child doesn’t try hard enough to accomplish something they know they’re perfectly capable of. By teaching kids to set goals, you can foster a can-do attitude and boost their self-confidence.


Why it’s important to set goals

As parents, encouraging children to take a more active role in building their future can give them a greater sense of direction and purpose. It will clarify for them what’s important in their life and how to focus on it.

As kids begin to see progress in achieving their goals, they will feel more capable and motivated and understand the difference in outcomes by setting a goal and working towards it.

Kids who have goals, whether they’re sporting, academic, financial or otherwise will feel a positive sense of achievement and personal satisfaction when they work towards and reach their goal.


Benefits of setting goals for kids

The benefits of setting goals will fundamentally help kids in two ways:

  1. Improve their self-confidence 
  2. Teach them a life-long way of thinking

Learning the goal-setting process will facilitate more effective decision making for kids as they grow older. Regardless of achieving their goals, kids will understand the process of how to overcome obstacles and how to improve on their weaknesses. This ultimately makes them more resilient.


Tips for teaching kids to set goals

Goal setting may be new to kids, but just like any new skill, you want it to become a habit. 

It’s important to put emphasis on the process itself, not just achieving the end result. This will get them started in the goal-setting frame-of-mind of thinking, planning and taking action in order to achieve results.

Allowing your kids to set their own goal will help them understand what’s important to them. They’ll also be intrinsically motivated to succeed knowing the goal is their own.


S.M.A.R.T Goals

Following a goal-setting method such as S.M.A.R.T can assist in setting achievable and realistic goals.

  • Specific – making a goal that has a tangible and specific outcome. An example of this is getting a B+ in Math for Term 2.
  • Measurable – goal needs to be measured in some way. An example of this would be increasing your running pace by 2 minutes. 
  • Attainable – make sure that the goal can actually be achieved. Encourage smaller goals along the way to keep kids motivated.
  • Relevant – goals need to be relevant to your child. Allow them to choose goals that they see as important, or for activities that interest them.
  • Timely – have a realistic time frame for the goal to be achieved. An example is making your bed every day for three weeks.

Make sure that goals are challenging but not unattainable. Starting with smaller goals in a short time frame can help kids remain focused and motivated.

Remember, you don’t have to achieve every goal. Let them know it’s okay to fail or not achieve their goal. It’s about learning the process of setting a goal and working towards it that’s most important.


Goal setting with Veteran Mentors

Building life skills is an important part of growing up; without them, it can be difficult to navigate the challenges of everyday life.

At the Veteran Mentors, we teach the importance of goal setting for kids, and how to set realistic, relevant and timely goals, among other essential life-skills. Through arming them with these tools, they’ll learn to become more comfortable and confident.

If you need help teaching your kids about goal-setting, learn more about our military-style boot camp for kids.

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