Goals – setting your child up for success

goals-setting-your-child-up-for-successWe’ve probably all heard the old adage that if we aim for nothing, we’re guaranteed to reach it. Well, the same applies for kids.

That’s why goal setting plays such an important role in life. You can set your kids up for success by modelling goal setting for them and teaching them how to do the same.

Goal setting helps kids to understand from a young age that it’s not just the super-talented who succeed, but those who put in the effort and stay the course.  But goal setting doesn’t have to be boring – there are plenty of ways to make it a fun, interactive experience. The most important thing is to keep it simple.

1)    Choose a goal
You may have goals for your child – like achieving straight A’s – but your child may have a completely different goal in mind, such as becoming an actress or a better rugby player. Discuss various possible goals, then let your child choose and write down the goal.

2)    Make it specific
Help your child to make their goal as specific as possible, because this makes it measurable. If your child wants to be a better rugby player, does that mean scoring a certain number of tries or conversions, or making it onto the first 15?

3)    Consider pros and cons
In other words, count the cost of reaching the goal and weigh it up against the benefit of achieving the goal. For example, extra drama practices will cut into free time, but achieving a role in the school play makes it worth it.

4)    Define the three W’s
Who can help, what do you need to do, and when. Help your child identify exactly what it is that they need to do to reach their goal – maybe it’s ball kicking skills or tackling. Then, who can help them? Perhaps yourself, a coach or a friend. Lastly is when: what time/day will they schedule for extra practices?

5)    Measurable milestones
Identifying measurable milestones makes it easier to see progress and celebrate success on the path to your child achieving their goal.

A fantastic way to make goal setting fun with kids is to create a vision board. Get them to cut out words and pictures from magazines and use art supplies to make a visual picture of what they want to achieve. It could be a timeline, a collage, a map or anything their mind can imagine.

The real work begins once the goal is set and the vision board made. Kids often underestimate how hard it is to reach a goal and get frustrated or discouraged when they fall short. Point of the challenges from the beginning. Be encouraging but realistic. Let your child know that you’ll support them in their goal but to expect times of discouragement and setbacks.

Remember to applaud effort, not just achievement. Kids who are naturally talented in a certain area are far more likely to achieve their goals sooner. However, people at the top of their field rarely succeed from just talent. It takes persistence, determination, and a refusal to quit in difficult times. Often the people who succeed are not the super talented, but those who refuse to quit.

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