The Importance of Goal Setting for Kids

As parents, we want our children to get the best out of life and be ready to face any challenge that life throws at them. Nobody wants their child to be a weak and indecisive individual who is incapable of performing the various tasks that are integral for success. So, is there a way in which parents can prepare their children for the tough road ahead and ensure that they emerge as winners? After all, it is not enough that you wish for something, you also have to work towards it.

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An extremely effective way of enhancing your child’s personality and achieving the above mentioned aims is to dabble with goal setting for kids. Generally, goal setting deals with two main facets-namely the controlling of emotions and enhancement of problem solving skills. If your kids are armed with these abilities, they can overcome practically any difficulty that hampers their progress.

There are certain things you need to take into account when goal setting for kids. Do not be carried away by your own idea and set impossible goals that are not suitable for the age group that your child belongs to. Many parents are perfectionists who want to transform their child into a genius and they look upon goal setting as a tool to do so. Such distorted motives may backfire in a big way and your child will end up withdrawing into his or her own shell as they are overwhelmed by parental expectations.

It is important that parents understand the true significance of goal setting for kids before starting with the entire exercise. You need to be a guide for your child and prompt him in the right direction rather than manipulate him into the person you think he should become with goal setting. So, start will small goals for younger children and as they grow into adolescents you can increase the difficulty and complexity of the goals.

Just as setting extremely difficult goals is not recommended, you should also not set very simple goals for your child. This may lead the child to assume that he will get everything he desires from life with minimal effort. Simplistic goals also lower the excitement levels associated with normal goal setting for kids. Ideally, you should set goals that challenge your child without robbing him of his confidence.

Analyzing the emotional state of your child is crucial before you set goals for him. If your child is feeling low and tired, you should set relatively easy goals whereas if he is in a pepped up and energetic mood, setting difficult goals will also not be too much of a problem. In other words, goal setting for kids is directly proportional to the child’s readiness for it.

When goal setting for kids, a lot of emphasis should be laid on the right way of solving problems. You need to tell your child that life may surprise him with unexpected obstacles but he should always be ready for it. Knowing the correct ways to combat the problem is not necessary. What he needs is a positive attitude and willingness to tackle the problem in a competent and smart manner. The motto is to keep looking for solutions until he finds the right answer.

In the course of our everyday lives, we find a lot of people who are defeated even before they begin grappling with the problems they encounter. Most of these people believe that prior to dealing with the problem or obstacle; they need to be aware of the different steps that will help in solving it. These people are paranoid about failure or making mistakes and so would rather not attempt the task. Goal setting for kids teaches them the valuable lesson that there is no need to obsess over mistakes and failure to the point that it leads to inaction.

Ignorance on how to tackle a challenge does not imply that you do not make a decent attempt. When working on a problem, inspiration and solutions will come naturally during the working process. All you need to do is to alert your mind to the various possibilities of the situation.

The second integral aspect of goal setting for kids is teaching them the proper control of their emotions. Impulsive actions and lack of self-control can be a huge factor in limiting an individual’s potential for growth. Self-control cannot be learned easily as an adult but if the seeds are sowed in the initial stages of childhood, it requires very little effort to implement this on a daily basis. This is the reason that controlling emotions occupies such a central place in goal setting.

Self-control is a habit that can be inculcated into your child from an early stage. Most kids find it difficult to exert control over their selves as the natural impulse is the instant gratification of desires. However, if you regularly set small tasks for your child, this ability can be mastered by your child. For example, giving pocket money on a weekly basis and asking your child to save it for a couple of months so that he can buy something that he really wants rather than spending it immediately on some small item is a good way of teaching self-control. If your child is not interested in doing homework and wishes to go to the playground after school, you could tell him that by postponing playtime to finish homework first he will be getting an extra hour to play. These are small ways of goal setting for kids that will teach them to restrain their impulses and adopt a practical attitude towards life.

When engaging in goal setting for kids, it is vital that you provide feedback on a regular basis. This helps in raising the confidence levels of your child and he will have a realistic idea about himself. After each goal has been achieved, you can discuss the tactics employed and the things that you approve about the way your child set out to realize his goal. Always be honest with your feedback and never indulge in empty praises as a means of bolstering your child’s self-image. If you praise your child for something that he does not deserve, he will not be able to form a realistic impression about himself and this can lead to a lot of problems later.

The whole objective of goal setting for kids is the enhancement of their personality and mentally preparing them to face life in a positive spirit. This being the case, the focus should not be on winning or losing but learning from each experience. Ultimately, you as a parent should devise the goals in such a way that your child thoroughly enjoys himself and does not feel pressured at any stage of the activities. If you succeed in this, goal setting for kids can be a fantastic tool for learning.

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