As parents, one time or another we have all experienced the frustration of knowing our children aren’t trying hard enough to accomplish we know they are more than able to do. While the initial reaction would be to harp and push, it’s important not to get overly excited about their lack of ambition and instead turn your efforts into teaching them how to set and reach goals – even at a young age.
It’s not as difficult as you may think to instill the importance of goal setting in your children. With a few simple steps you can plant the seed:
- Start by looking for ways your child already sets goals, even though they may not realize that’s what they’re doing. For example, if they are trying get their favorite video game and saving up any extra money he or she gets. Take this opportunity to discuss the steps that will need to be taken in order to get the rest of the money for the game. Explain how good it feels to work toward something and actually make it happen.
- Start small – Help your child pick a small, fun goal that can be reached in a relatively short amount of time – maybe a craft project or finishing a short book. Starting with small goals is a great way to teach children to work toward bigger goals.
- Let them be involved in choosing the goals they want to reach. Sure we want them to have straight A’s or make the honor roll each grading period or make the sports team but these may be more YOUR goals than theirs. Letting them choose what they want to achieve is often better because it allows them to take ownership of the steps needed to reach them, as well as the actual accomplishment.
- Be supportive – as your child begins to work toward setting and reaching their goals, be the biggest cheerleader you can be for them. Applaud their efforts no matter how big or small and let them know you see how hard they are trying.
It’s never too early to start instilling the importance of setting and reaching goals in your children. And while these steps are a great way to get the ball rolling, remember that we are our children’s biggest teachers so be prepared to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.