Goal setting for children

More and more we receive enquiries from schools seeking to introduce their students to goal setting. In many ways, this is a great initiative as it is an excellent way to prepare students for life. Whether we regard them as “goals” or otherwise, there are many pursuits in life that benefit from a goal setting mindset: succeeding at sport, excelling in college, climbing the ladder at work, paying off a mortgage, raising children. Philosophically, one could argue that perhaps we let our children be children, but like most things there is a balance.

So what are the ways we can find that balance. Well, firstly, keep it simple. Secondly, think carefully about the S.M.A.R.T. methodology. This is something that kids can really benefit from as they are used to operating in a world of constraints and boundaries. Give them a clear goal and a clear benefit and they will thrive. Finally, give them hope. Focus on the goal being small enough and certainly “achievable”. For those families who give their children allowances or pocket money, encouragement of a financial goal could help their long term financial habits. Equally, a reward for a series of chores over a couple of months can easily be presented as a goal.

Ultimately though, this is about conveying the value of hard work. This is something that will never do a disservice to anyone. As the saying goes: Easy come, easy go. So too, do the fruits of hard work yield so much more than the initial reward. As parents, it is up to you how you prepare your children for the world ahead. But perhaps some small achievable goals will instil the values and mindset that can give them a sure footing for their first step.