6 Simple Tips for Helping Your Kids With Goal Setting
If you have kids then you know that there is a bit…okay a lot… of stress that comes along with those little bundles of joy. That stress can carry over and affect your very own health life. So today I am sharing some tips with regards to coaching your kid(s) through goal-setting. We use these tips in our home in hopes of tackling some possible future stress points before they happen.
Why We Do This
First of all, we are coaches so goal setting and goal getting is kinda what we are all about. Secondly, if we don’t teach our kids how to create, set, and strive to reach the right types of goals then they will be learning late in life, when it may be too late. Third, I believe that it is easier for them to have ownership in their future and make better choices through that ownership when they are not in our presence.
Full disclosure, we are professing Christians striving to live our lives on Gospel mission, so my experience is through this worldview. If you are not a believer but still reading this, I welcome you and hope that you relate to this article as well.
1. Realize your Life is Yours and Your Kids’ Life is Theirs.
In our experience, there are many parents who live through their kids. They want their kids to go and be like they were at that age or they want their kids to go and do the things they didn’t get to succeed at when they were that age. Some of this may be okay and harmless, but most of what we see are parents who are putting a lot of pressure on their kids to be something they may not be capable of being. When you live through your kids, you probably won’t be able to accomplish #2, which is….
2. Be Students of your Kids.
Your kids are forming their own lives everyday. Yes they have to be under our watch and protections but someday they will be adults. Take time to be students of your kids and find out what their personalities are like, why they like what they like, what their dreams are, and etc.. Do more asking questions and active listening then lecturing or talking. You’ll find that the questions will come from your interest of the last answer they gave you. It’s a fun exercise. Plus the earlier you do this, the more open dialog time you’ll have with your kids. They will also probably trust you more because they feel like you are trying to know them and truly care.
3. Ask Goal Setting Questions.
As you are learning about your kid because you are being a student, its time to ask them some goal setting questions. One particular example may be “so I heard you say that you like taking care of animals, does that mean that you would like to be a veterinarian one day?” Your child may answer yes and then your next question may be “what could you do now to get you ready to be a veterinarian?”. Make sure you don’t ask any or too many “yes” or “no” answer questions as these don’t promote dialog.
I recommend using the SMART technique for setting goals. Smart means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound.
4. Receive Approval to be an Accountability Partner
A good way to breach this topic would be to make sure your kids know what an accountability partner is. Once they have a good understanding, you may want to ask them to name some people who could possibly be a partner to them for holding them accountable in reaching their goal(s). Be prepared to not be emotional if they don’t name you but chances are they will. If they don’t name you or your spouse, you can ask why they feel like you wouldn’t be a good accountability partner. Keep open, unemotional dialog throughout this process and watch what you will learn from your child. Handling this topic this way gives them the control/ownership of their goals process. This is the start of a great habit that will most likely carry over into adulthood.
5. Hold Them Accountable…Lovingly.
It is important to remember to remain a motivator as your child is working on attaining their goal or goals. If they are falling behind or there is the appearance that they may not reach their goal or goals, there is already a negative factor at play and they don’t need another one in you, their accountability partner. Seek ways to give them the push they need to get over the hurdle but do not do it for them. Remind them of where they are trying to go and maybe even take them to a place that reminds them of the goal they are tying to reach.
6. Celebrate The Small Wins (Inchstones).
When your child reaches a inchstone within the bigger milestone, well, that’s forward momentum aka progress. Celebrate that but also remember that its not the final victroy. Some kids (and adults too) get comfortable in the “good” and therefore not continue to reach the “great”. The idea here is to keep motivation and inspiration but to also remember that the journey is not over.
Brian "B-Rob" Robinson is a Certified Life Strategies Coach, Certified Sports Nutrition Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Youtuber, and co-founder of LEANWellonline. His website is thisisbrob.com and his YouTube channel is thisisb-rob.