The summer provides a perfect opportunity for kids to explore their dreams and expand who they are beyond an academic setting – and goal setting for kids can help them achieve those dreams!
(If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, have fun with this during your winter break)
Here’s how to get started:
Goal Setting for Kids Step 1: Help children identify their dreams
The first step is to help your children discover WHAT they want to try out, experience, or achieve. Jump start the brainstorming process by sharing ideas such as:
• create a play or make a movie with friends
• start a business taking care of pets or selling lemonade
• complete badges for Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts and advance in rank
• build a tree house or a go-cart
• invent a product or create a new game
• learn to cook
Goal Setting for Kids Step 2: Help your children learn how to turn their dreams into action
Taking action is the key to turning dreams into reality. Below is the goal setting process we use in our life coaching for kids program that you can use with your children:
First, after your children have identified their goals, ask them to explore WHY their goals are important to them. Their “why” will help them stay motivated if they experience challenges along the way. For example, if a child wants to start a lemonade stand, her “why” might be to save money for a bicycle or a special Lego set.
Second, have your children identify a list of tasks that need to be completed to accomplish their goal. In the lemonade stand example, several of the tasks might be to:
• test lemonade recipes
• identify a location where people will pass by (who have money with them)
• create posters to advertise the business
• decide pricing
• purchase ingredients and cups
Tip: Depending on your child’s age and the complexity of the goal, you might want to help them brainstorm the list of tasks needed to accomplish the goal. A great way to support children in thinking through what needs to be done is to ask questions such as:
• “How will you let people know about your lemonade stand?”
• “Where can you put your lemonade stand so that a large number of people will see it?”
• “How are you going to make change if someone gives you a $5 bill?”.
After your children identify tasks, have them arrange the list in the order that each task needs to be completed then transfer the list to a goal card.
Click here for a template your children can use.
Fourth, have your child identify WHEN each step needs to be completed to accomplish that goal. Encourage them to establish start dates and stop dates for each task, to ensure the goal can be achieved on time. For example, when launching a lemonade stand, your child will need to make the poster and get money for change before opening day. These steps may be obvious to us as grownups but learning to plan ahead is a skill that children need to develop. Invite your child to track status on the goal card as each task is completed.
Finally, celebrate success!
Learning to set and achieve goals is a valuable skill that children can use for the rest of their lives. Go for it!