As an adult, you have probably set many goals during your life, but have you ever wondered if your child has goals? All parents want their children to have aspirations. Sure, your child may want to achieve the highest score on a favorite video game or save enough allowance money to make the ultimate fashion purchase, but does your child have any substantial, long-term goals for the future? Setting and attaining goals is important for children because it allows them to see just what they are capable of accomplishing, and thus builds their self-confidence. You can help your child learn both the value and the process of goal setting.
When speaking to your child about goal setting, help him or her be specific. For example, help your child narrow a general statement like “I want to read more” to “I want to read at least one new book a month.”
Have your child set goals that are measurable, and include a timeline so progress can be assessed. “I want to do better in science class” might be restated as “I will raise my science grade at least one letter grade this term.”
Make sure that the goals your child sets are challenging yet realistic. Goals that do not take much effort will not benefit your child like goals that require commitment and hard work. On the other hand, goals that are too lofty will only frustrate your child.
Effective goal setting is a valuable life skill that will help your child fulfill dreams and realize his or her potential.
—Kristen R. Stephens, PhD