BlogLearning Strategies for Kids4 Steps for Setting Goals for Kids

    4 Steps for Setting Goals for Kids

    When it comes to goal setting, it is important to have your kids establish a clear “why”. Goal setting for kids can be made that much more impactful when they know exactly why a goal is good for them. For example, “I will study math educational resources for 2 hours each day” isn’t as effective as “I will study geometry, algebra, and shapes for 2 hours a day because it will help me understand math better.”

    You should also make the goal setting process collaborative in nature. You don’t want your kids to feel left out of the process of goal setting. You want them to be excited about their new goals while not feeling like setting a routine is a punishment. Goal setting for children requires some form of teamwork so that the goals are mutually agreeable.

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    What Does Goal Setting Mean for Kids?

    Children thinking about their goals

    Goal setting is a powerful mechanism through which your kids can put in their maximum effort. They can leverage it to make their study sessions more directed and focused. They can target specific subjects and areas that they need to improve upon. Your kids can also enhance specific skill sets, such as cursive, nouns, and tenses, when they set goals directly focusing on them.

    Goal setting can also be understood as a guide, which your kids can use to improve specific skills. You can help your kids understand goal setting by giving them examples of different goals and talk about the joy of accomplishing them. You should also emphasize the importance of forming play time and study time so that they can prioritize them equally. 

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    How Goal Setting Will Definitely Help Your Kids

    Child improving grades through goal setting

    Goal setting offers specific advantages that all families can benefit from. You can set the right markers in a diverse range of areas so that your kids can focus on multiple goals. They can create vision boards and actively pursue their dreams, whether that be to become an engineer or a doctor.

    There are also direct benefits of setting the right goals, which can help your kids in other areas. Goal setting improves self-confidence, which is a key attribute that all kids should experience. Your young ones also become more aware of their own abilities to accomplish things. They can understand the value of sacrifice to achieve long-term goals.

    Having your kids focus on long-term goals can also reduce their tendency towards impulsivity. You can give them the right tools to break down specific objectives into smaller missions that they can focus on.

    You can also help your kids unlock their potential with the right goals. They can start to put their time and effort towards a more fruitful endeavor and simultaneously get a sense of organic accomplishment. You’re improving their inherent ability to persevere, understand failure, and gain strength. 

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    Concept of SMART Goals

    concept of smart goals

    You can use the academic concept of SMART goals to make goal setting for kids more structured. This will also help you make more relevant goals that are ideal for your kids. You can also then set the right types of goals that will help your children thrive.

    SMART goals essentially stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. This will help you make goals that are designed specifically for your kids. A great example of this could be a kid studying in 4th grade, achieving 85% on a math worksheet by the end of the year. It is time-bound, specific, and achievable based on your child’s grades.

    You can also structure your child’s learning style and curriculum based on their personalized SMART goals. You can have them study subjects they love during the start of the learning session and then gradually transition to other areas. You can help your kids stay on course with SMART goals as well. 

    What Are Some Smart Goals for Students?

    Kids excited about setting their goals

    SMART goals for kids can be powerful tools to help them accomplish anything they set their minds to. Having the right goal definition for kids is important, which is why you need to create SMART goals. These types of goals will help your kids flourish under a more defined system.

    Some SMART goals for kids are – 

    I want to be able to play a song by the end of the week on my piano, using chord progressions and vocals.

    I want to increase my Lexile (or other reading level) score from 440 to 660 this year by reading books of diverse genres.

    I want to participate more in the class by raising my hand at least 3 times in each session.

    I want to improve my grade to an A in math this year by focusing on geometry, algebra, and calculations.

    I want to participate in one school play, one volunteering activity, and one self-improvement plan by the end of the month.

    In my 5th grade, want to be able to get all questions right in the math worksheets.

    I want to complete 10 books outside of my class syllabus by the end of the year. 

    It’s important to customize your own SMART goals so that your kids can excel in that environment. You can personalize the goals to their individual nature, tendencies, and strengths so that they’re able to maximize their potential. 

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    Expanding on the 4 Steps to Goal Setting for Kids

    Mother helping child set his goals

    Now that we’ve explored the importance and types of goals that you can set with your kids, it is time to focus on how exactly to prepare the right goals. These steps can be an important strategy guide on how to make your kids feel proud about setting the right goals. You need to follow these vital steps when creating the right goals for your kids. 

    1. Getting your kids excited about goals

    One of the most important aspects of goal setting for kids is to get your kids excited about them. You want your kids to create their own goals organically while being joyful about it. Your kids should also feel like they’re part of a larger mission of helping them become successful doctors, engineers, performers, and entrepreneurs.

    You should start talking about the benefits of goal setting and how exciting the entire process can be. You can also assure them that you’ll always be there by their side to help them accomplish their goals. You can talk about how everyone in the family has goals as well, which they are working towards every day.

    You should also be able to understand how to explain goals to a child. Some kids don’t find the idea of goal setting to be intuitive, and they need a thorough explanation on what it means. You should sit down with them and talk about what a goal means from a practical point of view.

    2. Clearly defining the right goals

    Now that your kids are excited about setting goals, it is important to establish the right ones. It is vital to start with the question – “What is a goal for kids?”. You can then use the SMART goal structure to understand whether these goals are specific, measurable, actionable, etc.

    You should also focus on multiple goals when you’re defining them. By having multiple goals aligned, you can ensure that your kids can diversify their attention spans. They can have goals for all their subjects and for extra-curricular activities.

    You also want to enhance existing goals over time so that they continue to remain specific and achievable. You can change the grades, scores, reading levels, and time invested in subjects based on your child’s dynamic learning abilities. 

    3. Having a concrete plan in place

    It’s not enough to just have a goal in mind. You need to create a path forward. This can include actionable steps that your kid can take to improve their success rate. They could focus on the following tactics to improve their achievability.

    1. I will take notes in each class to help me understand the lesson better.

    2. I will complete my homework assignments quicker so that I have more time to prepare.

    3. I will read more about math and ELA through external material.

    4. I will ask the teacher questions that pop into my mind when I’m paying attention.

    5. I will reach out to my friends when I need help in solving equations.

    A concrete plan also includes the mini goals that need to be established for the overall goal to be targeted. This includes milestones that your kids should focus on to achieve their larger goal.

    An example of this could be, improving their grade to a “B” by the end of the quarter and then getting an “A” by the end of the year. The right goal setting steps for kids can be impactful in the long term when they have the right habits in place. 

    4. Regular reviews and collaborations

    You want to regularly review your child’s progress as they continue working towards achieving their goals. This will help motivate them and keep them grounded to achieving success. You can also continue supporting them and give them the right tutoring, books, and educational tools they need.

    You also want to emphasize that goal achievement is collaborative in nature. This is so that your kids don’t feel pressured to achieve goals in a shorter time frame or start feeling bad about not being able to keep up. You can regularly review their progress and course-correct where necessary.

    You should also constantly promote goal achievement with some form of reward. This could be a dinner outside, a trip, a special gift, or a new educational toy. It can be given as a sign of appreciation for all the hard work your kid has put in.

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    Motivate Your Child With These Incredible Methods

    Child setting her schedule and weekly routine

    Driving motivation to accomplish goals is a key factor in raising resilient kids. You need your child to be intrinsically motivated while also being focused on achieving them in a timely manner. There are many teaching strategies that you can employ to help your kids remain motivated to accomplish their goals.

    One of the best ways to boost motivation is to ask your kids what they love and dislike about the school. You can get a sense of their inherent strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning, which can help you design better learning and lesson plan.

    A great example of this could be if they love reading books but don’t enjoy math, then you make math fun by buying some narrative-driven math homework books. You can shift the way your kids perceive learning new subjects by introducing content that is intuitive to them.

    You can also motivate them through active positive reinforcement. You can help them excel in any domain by consistently giving them the right kinds of praise and making them feel like they can accomplish anything. This shifts their mindset into one that looks forward to achieving their goals.

    Common Pitfalls To Avoid When It Comes to Goal Setting

    Child working on achieving their goals

    There are a handful of pitfalls that you want to avoid when it comes to goal setting for kids. You want them to flourish within the system and not feel weighed down by the responsibilities of the goal. You don’t want your kids to experience stress because of the added pressure at a younger age.

    1. You want the goal-setting process to be collaborative and mutually agreed upon, especially for goals that are longer term. Some parents might find examples of goals for children and try to emulate them without personalizing them, which isn’t the right approach.

    2. You should be able to break down a larger goal into smaller milestones for your kids. This will give them a sense of direction so that they’re able to achieve their targets unidirectionally.

    3. You should have a roadmap prepared when it comes to goal setting for kids. Your little ones want to have clarity on their daily tasks and how they add towards a larger goal.

    4. It is important to provide consistent positive reinforcement to your kids. You want them to thrive in a positive environment that is designed to help them succeed.

    5. It’s important to be flexible and adaptive when it comes to smart goal-setting for kids. You don’t want to rely solely on the larger goals or a goal setting template for students, as these can lead to disinterest and feel like compulsion.

    6. You should also continue to provide support to your kids and not let them feel like they’re trying to achieve their goals all alone.

    7. You can motivate them organically by having group study sessions so that other kids can share their personal goals as well.

    If you avoid these common pitfalls, then the likelihood of your kids excelling in a goal-oriented environment increases significantly. 

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    Goal setting can be a highly rewarding experience for both parents and kids. You need the right types of goals for your kids to follow so that they’re able to thrive in any situation. You can have them focus their efforts, prioritize their time, and feel a sense of accomplishment through goal achievement.

    You can instantly get started on setting the right SMART goals for your kids today with our guide!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How do I make sure that I’m setting good goals for kids?

    If your kids improve their grade and perform better at school, then your goal-setting process has worked as intended.

    How are goals different for a 3rd grader and a 5th grader?

    Goals for a 3rd grader will be lighter as they’re just starting out to get comfortable with the idea of goal setting. You can focus on grade-specific goals and target areas where your kids need more support.

    How do I differentiate short term and longer-term goals for kids?

    The numbers of milestones, timeframe, and achievability of short term and long-term goals will change.

    What is “simple goal setting” for children?

    You can set just one goal for your child to achieve it, when you are focusing on a simple goal for your kids.

    Andrew Scholl
    Andrew Scholl is an educational expert with over 15 years of teaching experience in elementary and middle school classrooms. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

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