Jump to Topics

Step-by-step guidance on goal setting for children

Step-by-step guidance on goal setting for children

Helping children to make resolutions, and thereby develop a growth mindset, is a good way to make them responsible individuals
Step-by-step guidance on goal setting for childrenresolution for children
Representational Image | Shutterstock

New Year resolutions offer a chance for people to set fresh goals and start anew, or even carry over unachieved goals from the previous year into the new year. This is a good time for parents to introduce the concept of making resolutions to their children. Happiest Health talks to experts who share practical techniques to help children stay committed to their resolutions.

When to start      

It is never too early to start teaching children the value of setting goals and working towards them.  But how early is too early? Mangaluru-based child psychologist Joy Christin Johnson recommends introducing children to resolutions at around age seven.

This practice comes with a bounty of benefits. “When they start setting goals at a young age, they learn the importance of commitment and responsibility,” says Johnson. Helping children reflect on their accomplishments and failings promotes self-awareness from a young age. Johnson adds a further benefit: children take control of their own learning and development, instead of relying on parents for the same. “This control helps them feel responsible and independent, which aids in personal growth and self-reliance.”

Bengaluru-based transformation and performance coach says, “Resolutions add purpose to life, just like a tail gives direction to a kite. Help your child find their purpose early on by encouraging goal setting from a young age.”

Ways to introduce resolutions to kids

“The best way to approach child-friendly resolutions is by helping them keep their list short, realistic and age-appropriate,” says Johnson.

  1. Explain resolutions by discussing your own goals and give them the liberty to set their own.
  2. Mumbai-based Naina Kalyani, a mother of two in her mid-thirties, encourages her nine-year-old to set goals for herself. She also helps her child to identify specific objectives, such as improving grades, learning the piano, and saving money. She and her husband also offer support and encouragement by helping her track progress, Kalyani says.
  3. “Make it fun for kids by breaking goals down into exciting games and challenges. This helps them embrace the concept without feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the word ‘resolutions’,” says Dr Ruupa who is also a psychologist.

Parents: the secret ingredient to successful resolution

Children have big ideas but short attention spans. As such, it is up to parents to make the resolutions engaging enough for the children to maintain them. Johnson and Dr Ruupa are in sync on this one, “it is essential to practise what you preach and it is important to set an example.”

Step-by-step guidance on goal setting from Johnson and Dr Ruupa:

  1. Nurturing a growth mindset in children through SMART goal-setting. Johnson says, “SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Ask yourself if the goals cover these five areas.” This helps in setting good resolutions.
  2. Involve your child in the goal-setting process. Ask them what they want to achieve and help them come up with a specific resolution. This will make them feel invested in the goal and motivated to work towards it.
  3. Help your child see the benefits of achieving their resolution. Use metaphors and stories to help children understand the value of reaching their goals.
  4. Dr Ruupa says, “reward the child for meeting milestones. It could be as small as smiley stickers or cookies. This motivates children and they begin to associate achieving goals with positivity.”
  5. Track their progress from time to time and provide feedback using positive criticism.
  6. “We encourage our daughter to share her accomplishments with her grandparents. This brings great joy on her little face as she beams with pride and motivation,” Kalyani says.

New year, new goals for the little ones

Johnson lists four categories of goals that are child friendly:

  1. Academic goals such as getting better grades or learning a new language.
  2. Personal goals such as exercising more or learning a new skill such as football, the guitar, or swimming.
  3. Social goals such as making new friends or improving relationships with family and friends.
  4. Community service goals that involve volunteering or giving back to their community, such as service projects or fundraising for a charity, which all teach them the importance of empathy and kindness.

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Physical activity improves the quality as well as duration of sleep. But exercising too close to bedtime is not advisable
While what causes Bell’s palsy is unknown, use of modern medicine along with holistic approaches could offer quick relief
CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. According to American Heart Association, immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. Keeping the blood flow active, even partially, extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive on site. It is an important lifesaving first-aid tool that can be performed by anyone.




Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail
We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest