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Top 5 Ways Educators and Parents Can Help Kids Achieve Goals

As we enter the new year, many will make a New Year’s resolution. Usually, the resolution has to do with self-improvement. Many resolve to eat no junk food, quit smoking, or work out daily. Others try to project a positive focus or “attitude of gratitude” or implement daily meditation. Whatever the resolution is, studies say that only about 10% of adults really keep their resolutions. The main reasons why they fail are that the resolutions are too broad or lofty, and not realistically attainable daily. Often people also just give up too easily or don’t believe in themselves enough to persevere. Whatever the reason is, the same thing can occur with kids and the goals they set, if they are not guided and taught to persevere.

Educators and parents can help children reach their goals with guidance. There are some important ways to help kids along the way:

  1. Specific – goals should be specific and not overly broad. When possible, the goals should be measurable with benchmarks along the way. Kids need to understand the steps necessary to the achievement of their goals, and that it may take many small steps to reach the final stage.

  2. Attainable – The goal should be something that it is possible for that particular child to obtain, but just lofty enough to make them work hard to achieve it. Kids need to learn the value of trying, even if they don’t quite reach their ultimate goal.

  3. Resources – It is important to help kids understand the resources such as time, money, etc., that are necessary to the attainment of their goal. The necessary resources will require parental assistance to plan and schedule time and possibly other fiscal resources to help make a child’s dream a reality. But kids need to learn the value of the resources, and do their part to plan for or obtain necessary resources when possible.

  4. Success – Every little success along the way needs to be celebrated. Every child (and adult too!) needs to know that someone believes in them and is proud of them for working hard to achieve a goal. Every little success along the way should be celebrated as a benchmark in reaching the final goal.

  5. Perseverance – Last, but far from least, is perseverance. Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. In a society that often seeks instant gratification, perseverance is frequently overlooked. In a quest to provide kids with many opportunities, children are often not taught the value of hard work. As adults, many of us value the traits of hard work and perseverance that we learned from our parents. Perseverance means continuing on, despite discouragements or failures. When we can instill perseverance in kids, we are giving them one of life’s greatest character traits to fall back on in times of adversity. By helping them along the way, celebrating small successes, and encouraging hard work, we can help instill the value of perseverance.

With the new year beginning, we have a perfect opportunity to help kids set goals for 2018 and beyond. Taking the time to help kids plan their goals, and assisting them along the way, will also help them learn to set and achieve larger goals throughout their lives.