Help Your Child Learn to Set Goals

Just as it’s important for you to set goals for your work and life, it’s good for kids to have them, too. Here’s why:

Goals teach children about responsibility and how to manage their time.

Goal setting can help grow kids’ confidence.

Reaching goals shows the rewards of hard work.

Goals help kids overcome obstacles.

So how do you go about teaching goal-setting skills?

Let kids choose their goals.

It’s all about ownership. Sure, you can offer guidance, but them them choose.

Discuss the purpose for each goal.

Why does your child want to achieve a certain goal? Where does that goal lead?

Set realistic, yet challenging goals.

Unattainable goals lead to discouragement. On the other hand, don’t let children set goals well inside their comfort zone. Guide them to choose goals that are just out of reach (in their mind). It will help your child learn to push and conquer a new challenge instead of staying where it’s easy.

Set specific goals.

Don’t let your child simply focus on being the best player on the team. Ask, “What does being the best player mean? How can you measure that?”

Get them thinking, and then break the larger goal down into smaller pieces.

Take steps.

Goals can be hard to keep because they may feel too big and your child may not know where to start. Break the goals down, as mentioned above, and talk with your child about those steps. Sometimes it’s helpful to track them together, using a poster board other form of visible measurement.

Break down obstacles. 

This is a tactic I use often in life coaching. It’s always beneficial to think ahead about potential roadblocks, so your child can be prepared to face them.

Be sure not to allow your child to worry or fear potential pitfalls, however. Simply discuss them and let your child know he or she can power through.



Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at

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