setting goals

On the March: Kids’ Goal-setting Skills and Ways to Support Learning Them

March seems appropriate for a post on kids’ goal-setting skills because marching is steady and purposeful. Developing these skills is child’s play.getting ready for kindergarten everyday

Babies, toddlers, and young kids are strongly motivated—for some things that is. A baby will struggle to find a way out of a crib, and a toddler or older child will stack blocks, toys and rearrange furniture to reach the cookies.

Kids will set their own goals as they play. Little Sister wanted to cross the bridge at the playground all by herself. She held on the edges and slowly took one sideways step at a time. She asked me to stay back and only watch. Big Sister wanted to go down the waterslide at the pool and she’s finally tall enough. I had to stay down with her sister so she went up by herself.risk management for kids

Some goals children choose are realistic, like putting together a simple puzzle, but others are not, like building a block tower so high it reaches the sky. As kids play, they will figure out which ones that can do and which they can’t. As a strategy, goal setting is tremendously powerful, and we can support children’s learning by ensuring they have time and opportunity to play.

Basically, goal-setting is a three-step process: deciding on the goal, figuring out how to accomplish it, and taking action. When we notice, children wanting to do something, we can ask them how they might be able to. This moves them to the second step. We can also break a big task into smaller ones for them. For instance, the goal might be to get all the toys put away before going to the park. We can suggest they put away all the blue toys, and we’ll help with the red ones. Celebrating their success with them when they accomplish a goal also encourages them.goal-setting for kids

As children play today, how can you support kids’ goal-setting skills?


Highlights of the Olympics #18 – Kids and Goal Setting

The Olympics may be over but some athletes have already mentioned the goal of being there next time. Kids and goal setting is a great topic for us.

kids and goal setting

Have you ever wondered if kids set goals, if preschoolers are too young for goal setting? Young children and babies are very goal oriented. We might not think of a baby pulling himself across the floor of the kitchen to see what’s in the dog dish as setting a goal but it is to that baby. Kids can be very determined when it comes to reaching a goal.

Recently, to change a light in the closet, I had to get the ladder so I could reach. After I was done, Big Sister asked if she could climb up the ladder and touch the ceiling. She would have had to go too far up for that, but we agreed she could climb up and touch the top shelf. She went up and did that although did ask that I hold the ladder. Of course, Little Sister wanted to do the same thing. She held tightly onto the sides and trembled but she too accomplished her goal. She proclaimed, “I did it!” with a sigh of relief. But she conquered her fear and achieved her goal.

kids and goal setting

Kids set goals as they play. Two examples are hopping all the way to the end of a hop-scotch game or putting a whole puzzle together. Some goals are realistic, like getting dressed without any help and some aren’t, like jumping as high as the sky. As kids set and reach goals, they gain experience. The strategy of goal setting is very powerful, but just like other skills, kids need time and opportunity to figure it out.

So many athletes thanked their parents and coaches for supporting them to reach their Olympic goals. Our encouragement of kids and goal setting influences them now and for a lifetime. What goals might your child be striving for?