Goal Setting is beneficial for children in many ways. It is a life skill necessary for success and happiness.
- Teaches children to be responsible for their own successes and failures
- Teaches children to prioritize and manage their time
- Improves their self-esteem and confidence.
- Helps children identify their strengths and abilities.
How can we teach children to set appropriate goals and follow them through? One way that never fails is by engaging them in play and fun activities that promote learning. Here are some activities to help your children learn to set and reach their goals.
Activities to help children with Goal-Setting
Draw out Goals
Get your children to draw their goals on a sheet of paper. Ask questions like “Where do you see yourself 10 years?” or “What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?”. Make sure that children draw out details of their vision for the future – career, education, family etc. Once they have done the drawing, you can write the items in the drawing as a list. This is a great way to visualize your goals/dreams. Put up the drawing in a place that it is visible and prominent.
Saving money is an easy activity for children to learn goal setting. Ask your children what they want to buy or experience – say go to a movie or buy a new toy. Encourage children to save up to achieve what they aimed for. Pick up a jar or a tin. Label it with the aim, eg. “For my Lego”. Discuss how much needs to be saved, by when and how to save. This can be a family activity where the entire family participates too. Rewards come once you save!!
Keeping a Journal
Keeping a journal is another activity that increases chances of the goal being met. Use a journal or a notebook to write in thoughts, feelings, achievements, dreams, ideas and anything else children can think of. Looking back on the journal entries a few years down the line can be a nostalgic experience too.
Wishes to Goals
This activity by PeanutButterFishLessons teaches children to turn their wishes to goals.
Ring the target game
This game can help build an ability to set goals. Place a target at an appropriate distance from a starting point or the throw point. Draw 4 lines or markers at 2-3 foot increments from the starting point. Determine the distance of the target and the throw point based on the age of the child. The aim of the game is to get children to set a goal as to from which point they will ring the target (from the closest numbered 1 to the farthest, numbered 4) at the end of the game. Children start by throwing a beanbag or a ring on the target from the closest marker and will slowly move to the next markers when they are able to ring the target. They will continue this until the goal has reached.
Set up an age-appropriate obstacle course. Discuss with your children the time (make sure it is realistic and also challenging) they aim to take to complete the course. Run them through the course and get them to try again till they reach their goal.
This wonderful goal board activity by FamilyEducation.com plays on the connection between the word “goal” and the games of soccer and hockey. This involves making a three-dimensional goal as a visual reminder on which to keep track of short- and long-term goals.
Make a Vision Board
A variation of the Draw your goals activity is to make a Vision board by making a collage or sticking pictures. Ask the children to find photos that represent each of their goals. They can cut out the pictures and save the cut outs until each goal is achieved. Mark their achievements with stickers and collages. Every time the children complete steps toward one of their goals, give them stickers on their chart. When they reach goals, help the kids glue their cut outs onto the chart over the related written goal. When they have attained all of their goals, they will have a collage displaying their success.
Mind Maps of Goals
Children can create mind-maps of their goals. This is ideal for older children who can identify their interests and goals.
Make a Goal Road map with the interests; plan to reach the goal and how to reach the goal.
Goal Setting Punchcard
Children can achieve their goals with a goal ladder – which is a metaphorical ladder and a visual tool. It’s a way of structuring steps toward success.
Once completed, these can be hung in prominent places in your house where everyone will see them every day. This will subconsciously boost self confidence and eventually make the dreams into realities. By teaching goal setting, you will be giving your children a valuable gift that they will use for their entire lives, empowering them to achieve wonderful things in every area of life.