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Teaching goal setting for a child

by Lakshmi Sakthi 23 Jan 2023

                                   Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

Focusing on a goal but not obstacles is a simple concept to create a positive mind set in a young child. Setting a goal is easy, start with simple short - term goals and then move on to long - term goals. A child needs a lot of encouragement and motivation to sustain the actions towards achieving the goal. Goal setting can start at any age, if you wish to develop some good habits such as reading, self-care, frame them as simple short - term goals. If you want them to become a professional flutist, vocalist, sports person, frame them as long - term goals. 

Short - term goal:
Children are not experts at young age, frequent classes, training, practise gets them to develop expertise. We as parents must train them to achieve their goals slowly as per the age. Doing homework, reading books, arranging a toy cupboard after playing, doing household work, doing exercise or taking a walk for 20 minutes are known as short - term goals which take only a few days to achieve. Initially, we sit behind children to get every task done, but once they get trained, children start doing themselves. It is the achievement of short goals. 

Long term goals: 
What do you want to become? This is a common question which we ask our children. Long - term goals like becoming professionals do not happen overnight or within a week or year. It is a long - term process to get hard core training from the basic level, consistent every day practise with patience and deep commitment helps them realise the long term goal. The best example to give young children to understand this concept is an athlete who won a gold medal at the Olympics. 

Teach your child to set a goal:
Children are playful, taking things casually is quite natural. At a young age child should understand about goal setting for the future. Let’s have a look at how to train your child to set a goal.  

Parent and children relationship:
A loving bond between children and parents is crucial for inculcating and achieving goals. As uniqueness varies from child to child, understand the capacity of your child in order to get trained without stress. A smooth relationship with the right counselling lays the proper foundation to develop further.

The environment plays a significant role in young children getting motivated to set a short term and a long term goal. For instance, I work for a private school in Tamil Nadu. We took our nursery children to a coconut farm at as young age, explored every nook and corner and started asking questions. The greenery, open area and farm animals made the children overjoyed and they wanted to own a farm like that. Children demanded their parents to take them to that place or to buy one like that. It is a practical exposure of visiting a new place or new experiences that creates an opportunity for those kids to set a goal.

Usage of positive thoughts:
Accomplishment of a goal is not easy as per a fixed schedule, it may get delayed due to some circumstances. It is always good to use positive thoughts for our kids not to get demotivated. The positive thoughts such as :
         You are capable.
        That’s awesome, you got so far
         You can do it.
         By making positive statements to children, it helps them to enhance their  performance, not decline.

Setting up role models:
We take our children to different places to explore around them. On meeting different people, a child may get influenced by his or her favourite person. As parents always keep an eye on whether a child is going on the right track so as not to get spoilt. We have leaders in different fields in our family and outside of our family. As parents speak about a successful person whom you come across, as it may induce enthusiasm in them to become one. 

Exploration on preferred interest:
Sometimes children may have a good potential in a specific field at a very young age. If you are a keen observer, you can notice. Find out the interest and capability of your child as quickly as possible, talk and give more activity about it, explore through google and give chances to meet in person to develop the skills in the preferred profession. 
Basically, goal setting is a tool that boosts a child’s self-confidence to reach the maximum heights. Encourage young children to set short and long - term goals. Display them in a visible area. Review them every day, have a small conversation around them to generate more enthusiasm. Never underestimate your child’s ability to achieve. As pointed out earlier, each child is unique and their interests vary. Don’t dump your parental needs on your child and expect performance. 

Lakshmi Sakthi Alagappan lives in Thanjavur in Tamilnadu, India. She is an administrative officer at Blossom Public School. She likes reading books, listening to music and surfing.

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