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Goal Setting with Children

In today’s age of seemingly endless information, people are constantly bombarded with excessive numbers of choices, decisions, and options.  While overwhelming for an adult, it’s even more easy for children to get sidetracked or to just “go with the flow” instead of actively choosing their life’s path.  Learning how to set goals at an early age gives children the tools they need to live a purposeful life by making decisions, instead of simply reacting to situations.

In two separate blog posts on Positive Parents and Kids entitled “Goal Setting for Kids” (V), and “How to Raise Successful Kids”, author Winsome Coutts shares the reasons and tools to successfully teach your child goal setting.  According to Ms. Coutts, there are three main reasons why you should practice goal setting with your child:

  • Most highly successful people are avid goal-setters – they don’t consider goal setting an option, but rather a mandatory task to live an amazing life.
  • It gives you the chance to sit down and totally focus on your child, showing them how much you love them, how much you care about them and their future, and that you will spend time to help them work on their plan.
  • Setting goals can lead to profound feelings of happiness, purpose, confidence, and self-worth.

So how do you help your child become a goal-setting child?  According to Ms. Coutts, goal setting for children is basically the same as it is for adults, except because children are young, and not as developed emotionally or cognitively, the goals should be smaller and more tangible.  You are setting up a frame of mind for thinking, planning, and taking action to achieve results.  The basic steps for goal setting are:

  • Ask “What do you want to achieve?” – help your child describe in specific terms something they would like to do that will take some work or planning
  • Ask “How will you get there?” – help your child plan out the steps to take and the mini-goals to reach on his way to the ultimate goal
  • Establish accountability – have your child write down his goal and plan, and have him share it with you or another trusted adult to help him stay motivated, inspired, and on the right track.
  • Achieve – not only for the final outcome, but also for the mini-goals along with way
  • Review plan/goals/outcomes – throughout the process, as well as at the end, review with your child the plan and how they feel it is working/did work.  Discuss any adjustments that may need to be made, as well as how the experience is going for him.  Talk about what your child has learned, and encourage your child, whether he achieved his goal, or has to revise the plan and try again.

Goal setting is a valuable gift to teach your child.  For more ideas about how to help your child set and achieve goals and address issues, check out Kidtelligent!  The Kidtelligent Assessment can help by giving you additional tools to help teach your children based on their own unique personality types and interests.   To learn more about Kidtelligent, go to, and follow us on Facebook at

Sarah is a guest blogger for Kidtelligent.  She is a soccer-playing, travel-loving, poetry-writing wife to a “go-getter” husband and mother to two high-spirited, sweet, and enthusiastic boys.