Being married to an Executive Business Coach, means setting yearly goals at the beginning of each year. This year as I began the process, the thought occurred to me that my kids may have goals that they want to achieve.
What better way to raise visionaries, than to help them begin to set goals at an early age?
However, we needed to have a strategy.
Simply setting goals will not help them to accomplish those desired outcomes. Even as adults we have great intentions in January, but usually by March we’ve laid those dreams aside and are too busy with life to focus on them.
We needed a system to follow.
In order to help my kids with their planning, I modified my version of yearly goal setting and came up with a 3 step process to help them succeed.
3 Steps for Setting Goals with Kids
My husband and I have made a habit to always speak with our kids about 5 core areas, which we call buckets:
- Extracurricular Activities
Whether it’s over dinner or an end of the day discussion, we try to weekly cover these core 5 areas with each of our kids. We chose specific areas that we felt were the most important for our family to flourish.
You may pick different areas than we chose, and that’s okay! You may have more or less than five, that’s fine too! Choose areas where you want to see your children succeed.
What’s important to you?
What’s important to them?
Where do they need some help—friendships, hobbies, school work?
These questions can help aid you in creating your buckets and will ultimately help with setting the actual goals. Our five children range in age from 6 to 18 years old, so our talks about these core 5 areas look different for each age group.
With our teenage boys, our talks can be more in depth and focused. Because they are getting older (16 & 18), they have the capability to really narrow down what they are looking to gain in each of the core areas.
For my tween girl (11), we provide more guidance, but leave some space for her to express her thoughts on what she wants to accomplish for each bucket.
For our elementary kids, we set the buckets, cast vision for what their life could look like in each area and let them give feedback for each. Whatever your buckets contain, they should reflect what’s important to your family.
Write the dreams and actions
Once the buckets have been established, you will move on to capturing what your child desires for their future in these core areas. This is the fun part!
Dreaming with my children is one of my favorite things to do with them. I ask them questions like: What do you want to accomplish in this area? If money wasn’t an issue, what would you love to do? If you could try any one new thing, what would it be? By asking great questions, you can begin to see some dreams come alive in them that you never knew existed!
As you begin to document their thoughts on each area, it is important to note that these thoughts will turn into goals. Creating SMART goals will help you to make their goals become a reality. You can use the worksheet above to help your child create SMART goals for each area they want to excel in. Here are a few SMART goals we created for one of my elementary age kids based on our conversation about our core areas:
- Read Kids Bible Book every morning and discuss with Mom
- Study Bible Stories from my new Bible for Kids App Book and draw pictures twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings
- Spend time drawing with dad 1x a month to enhance drawing & learn to draw portraits
- Read 2 long chapter books by December 31st. (1 every semester)
- Read 10 short chapter books this year (about 1 a month)
- Eat 2 fruits a day (grapes, bananas, cherries, peaches, mangos are what I like)
- Eat 2 veggies a day (carrots, green beans, salad, broccoli, cabbage are what I like)
- Make and drink 1 smoothie a day
Extracurricular Activities/ Friendships*
- Find an art association that does submissions for art to be rewarded by March
- Visit 2 Art Galleries this semester & invite a friend
- Find a new art school that offers different media by March 1st
- Have date days once a month with Gram Gram to learn to use sewing tools beginning in April
- Bake with mom twice a month on Mondays
- Cheer tumble Mondays at 5pm with friends
*We combined Extracurricular & Friendships because they overlapped
Because we sat down and went through this exercise, my elementary child is already accomplishing five of the things on her list! Strategically focusing on these specific goals, has helped her to recognize opportunity for growth.
Shortly after doing this exercise, a friend invited her to try a cheer tumble class. She said she would rather not, but couldn’t give a good reason why. She tends to be my child who needs a little pushing in the area of stepping out to try new things. The unfamiliar can be very intimidating and uncomfortable for her.
I gently reminded her of her goals and encouraged her that trying it couldn’t hurt.
If she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to go back.
By giving her an out, I created an open door for her to do what she really wanted to do, but without the commitment of sticking it out long term.
After trying the class, she realized she really enjoyed it and was excited to sign up for the semester! She was so proud of herself for pushing through and completing one of her goals. It has been amazing to both of us to see how God shows up and provides opportunities when we put forth the effort to set goals.
I’m sharing this post over at Faith Along the Way for the Strong Family Project today. Be sure to get your free printable charts while your there! These tools will help you to aid your kids in setting goals that are realistic and attainable.