“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” – Earl Nightingale As adults, we know that early goal-setting can help us become more equipped and successful in realising our dreams. The problem is: how can parents make children understand that mindset in their young age? After all, if you were to ask primary school children about their goals, their answers often involve a life of playing games and social media. If you have trouble attempting to set goals for your kids, we’ve compiled a list of helpful guidelines for you! In this article, we’ll highlight 5 golden rules you need to know to implement smart goal setting for your kids. By setting these smart rules with your child, they will have a better understanding of what to accomplish without having to give up their fun time!
5 golden rules to set goals that works for your child
1. Involve your child in setting the goals
According to Edwin Locke’s goal setting theory of motivation, setting goals can lead to an increase in motivation in completing it. Setting a goal to motivate children at school, however, is easier said than done. So, in order to set smart and effective goals for your child, you need to be on the same team as them. In other words, your child also needs to want the goal. The most successful goals are usually those that you and your child decide together. So, ask your child what they hope to accomplish in school and listen to their answers before offering your thoughts. When your child is in the decision making process, they are more likely to feel committed to the goal – because it’s what they chose.
2. Explain the goal’s purpose
Children do not have the same mindsets and knowledge as adults do. Even though you tell them that good grades will lead to successful careers in the future, they might not be convinced so easily. However, they are willing to get good grades if this means lesser work and more play time as a result. When you set goals for kids, be sure to thoroughly explain the goal’s purpose and also motivate them with what’s in it for them. Instead of setting vague goals, try setting specific ones with a clear output for children in the short term. Since children tend to care towards their own personal goals in a more immediate time frame, this approach is ideal to get them more involved in achieving it.
3. Set a clear goal
Before you set any goals for your child, it’s important to remember that they can’t fully picture abstract goals yet. For example, their definition of “do better next time” may differentiate with yours. Instead of giving vague feedback that can be understood in multiple perspectives, phrase the goal in a more specific manner so that your child knows exactly what they should work towards. For example, you could say “let’s get another 5 marks in your next test” or “let’s aim to finish your math homework by 8 PM” to specify the actions your child should take. When you provide specific feedback and guidelines, it is easier for your child to know what to expect and the right actions to take.
4. Make the goals simple
If you want a higher chance of your child achieving their goal, make sure to set simple, manageable, and measurable goals. Children see difficult goals as large goals that require a lot of effort and time to do. To avoid intimidating your child, try dividing large goals into smaller, easier ones. Establish the steps needed to reach the goal and assist your child achieve each one. You should also ensure that each baby step is not too complex, either. After all, a high task complexity will discourage your child from quickly finishing it. Setting simple goals will result in your child giving a higher performance in finishing their tasks and ultimately, the end goal.
5. Review, reflect & reward
The goals you set together are there to guide your child towards the right direction. Therefore, reviewing them on a regular basis will enable your child to understand their progress and make necessary adjustments. When it’s time to review your goals, help them evaluate their task performance by considering what they did well and what they could have done even better. Be lavish with your praise or give them a reward if they succeed in reaching their goals. If they were unsuccessful in achieving their objectives, discuss the challenges they had and how to overcome them together. If necessary, feel free to adjust the goals to make them more realistic, and encourage your child to meet them in the next opportunity.
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