All parents want to see their children reach goals that know that they are perfectly capable of achieving.  However, sometimes it seems like an impossible task to help them adopt that “can-do” attitude. According to the experts from, these five tips will help to teach kids how to set and reach their goals!


Look at how your child is already using goal-setting and may not know it.

If your child has saved up all year to buy a new gaming system by cutting the yards, that’s goal-setting. They had a goal (their big purchase), they worked towards getting and saving money, and after they had enough funds, they were able to purchase their system. Talk to your child about how good it feels to accomplish a “goal” that they worked towards. Encourage them to use the same techniques to face and meet other challenges.

Baby steps.

Jim Wiltens, a leadership-training instructor in the San Francisco-area schools, says that baby steps are important to help teach kids how to set and reach their goals.

“Little goals are the best way to get kids moving toward big goals. Meeting a goal gives kids an incredible surge of energy.”

Let them decide.

“If parents find they’re nagging or getting angry that their child isn’t working hard enough to meet a goal, that’s a signal they need to back off,” warns Edward L. Coyle, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Let your child decide just what it is that they want to achieve. It may not exactly be what you want; however, with them in the driver’s seat, you both will be happy. Just make sure that you are there to help them make a plan!

Tune in to multiple possibilities.

John Bishop, author of Goal Setting for Students, says that if your child says, “I wish I could win a prize in the science fair this year,” use it as an opportunity to assist him in creating a plan. “Help him write down specific action steps and a timetable for accomplishing each of them.” Make sure to check-in to keep your child focused and aiming for their target goal.

Show them how to do it.

“Adults have a much greater sense of what it takes to accomplish goals,” says Virginia Shiller, PhD, author of Rewards for Kids! Ready-to-Use Charts & Activities for Positive Parenting. “Adults know how to break a goal down into steps, and that’s something kids need to learn.”

So, get in there and teach them exactly how to do it! And after you both reach your goals, applaud and celebrate.

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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