Goals for kids

I’m passionate about goals and goal-setting, so it’s only natural (to me) to talk to my kids about goals, and help them to start setting their own goals.

I didn’t set out to do such-and-such at a particular age; I was just winging it until it felt right to me.

For the past couple of years, just at the beginning of one year/ end of the last, I have done a very brief review/ goal-setting thing with the kids.

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There are many free printables for end of the year reviews for school. I just used these ones.

Aside from the usual questions on favourite foods and such, I looked for some that had questions like “this year I want to do x, y and z”

The kids have said things like “learn to swim/ ride my bike” and “we want to go on a holiday to the Drakensberg” and so I take it from there, probe a little more, as I see the child is into it.

This year I did talk to them about having a word of the year, and we decided that LISTEN was a really good word 😉

I’m taking it a step further this year by doing about 2 – 3 monthly goals with them. And of course, then we schedule them in my diary (!).

We started in Feb and I typed it all out… but I didn’t get to the typing out this month.

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So what kinds of things could you help your children decide to do as goals?

  1. We do individual dates with our kids – we have done since they were about 2 – and they each had specific things they wanted to do with each parent. These are not crazy things; Connor wanted to do a wordsearch with me and play a board game with Dion. We do these things anyway but it’s a way to make sure we get that thing done if it means a lot to the child.
  2. Kendra wanted us to have a playdate for their friends, so since it was February, we arranged a Valentine’s playdate.
  3. The kids like to ride their bikes with D at a particular park in the area. It’s not far and is very pleasant to go there, but it does take some working out of logistics because of loading bikes in the car, etc. So we put these things on the goals lists.
  4. We also have things like photowalks, painting fingernails, going for ice-cream, on the lists.
  5. Kendra has also mentioned going for a sleepover at Granny’s house.

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I’ve already noticed a few good things:

  • the kids remember and remind me to do things (accountability is a good, good thing)
  • they’re asking the right questions, like why can’t we do that? What will have to happen to do x? I love possibility thinking. I don’t think x is a good use of money! (this is priceless! Connor told me that R60 is too much to pay for a hand towel :))

The possibilities are endless – I can’t wait til they start setting their own reading goals 🙂

Do you set goals with your children?

What kinds of things do you put on your goals lists?

PS I’m completely practising on my kids because I have a dream of holding very basic goal-setting workshops for kids for two reasons: I think goal-setting is a very valuable skill that we should be taught early in life, and kids are fearless so they believe they can do anything much easier than adults do. I would love to work with that kind of CAN DO-it ness.

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  1. We use to try to do this more … but it fell to the wayside when the kids very quickly realized that DD (Dear Daddy) was not on board with any of it. So many things just didn’t happen because he didn’t want to do it. Go buy ice cream, go to the park, read a book together, … not difficult stuff. Even my stuff suffered because the things I needed didn’t get bought. It’s hard to bake cookies without sugar in the house. Since I don’t drive, and we live in the country, and my budget is the loose change I find in pockets.

    My oldest sets goals for her book writing and such, but not much else. Both she and DD are ENFP’s.

    My second read the books on goal setting. She’s an INFJ. She sets big goals for herself and usually crosses them off her list. She is almost finished with her High School requirements, and has a hefty research paper planned for English.

    Still working on the little ones. We do their homeschool goals, so they do get practice. One of them is an ENFJ, and the other is showing definite signs of an INTJ, like me.

    So my experience is that it works best if both parents are on the same page with goal setting. If one undermines and countermands every goal, very soon the kids loose interest.

    But you know, if that’s the biggest negative you can find in your spouse, it’s not too terrible.

    • Marcia Francois says:

      Rachel, I’m so sorry that you don’t have more support in this area from your hubby. I wouldn’t give up totally though; I might just adjust the goals to be within my (or the kids’) sphere of control. Look at your Kendra – she’s a goal-setter!

      Still, you can keep working the homeschool goals and housekeeping goals so they see the concept in action.

  2. I do a little bit of it with Son1. Mostly school stuff. I push A LOT for high marks. For example, I want an A for English. He’s always just below that. He’s just done an English Olympiad – he quite literally stepped out of his comfort zone for this. His teacher does encourage him a lot, which helps.I want 75% for Maths. He’s 15% below that which is still a HUGE improvement for him.
    I do make him a list of things at the beginning of each year of skills that I need him to master. This year he needs to learn to code (just introduction basics), master his researching skills (sorely lacking), run 5km among other things. Nothing works for Son2. If he’s not ready then no amount of encouragement (or bribery) will do the trick. I am actually at a loss with him.

    • I think it’s great that you know each of your children so well and that you realise what will and won’t work for each of them. That’s so awesome!

      May I suggest that you read Better than Before, or at least read all Gretchen Rubin’s posts on the 4 tendencies. I feel fairly sure that once you know their tendencies you’ll have better luck with them.

      E.g. One of mine is a questioner and we had a tiff about something on Sat morning. Once I explained WHY I did what I did, the thing blew over so quickly, like magic 🙂


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