Goal Setting with Kids

Hi all,

I am jumping on here real quick to share how we do goal setting with our kids. We currently have a senior daughter Carly, junior son Colton, freshman son Ronel, and kinder son Jude. Anyone reading this should know we only officially began doing this last year so no expert will be found here. I posted a photo on Instagram of our session today and have had some inquiries about what and how we do what we do.  

First things first
Ask them to come prepared with a notebook and pen
Don't have expectations 
Try to listen more than we talk
Be prepared to ask questions

Last year we called each kid one by one to our front room. It had a couch and a comfy chair and wasn't our usual space. It worked great. This year we decided to take them out one at a time to a place close to our house. It was fun to treat them while talking goals. Starbucks sweet tea for Carly, Pho lunch for Colton, Whataburger strawberry shake for Ronel, and Jude, he got a treat during an errand after his sesh.  It should be noted that goal planning can be nerve wrecking for teens. They already have so much on their plate. The idea is not to add a list of things to do but to calm their nerves by clearing a path to the end goal. EP likes to say When you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. With that said, our idea of goal planning is simply to give them some tangible things to aim at. 

The look of one getting dad's approval

Start with reflections on Last Year
What were the highs? 
Celebrate them. 
You graduated eighth grade? Amazing. You made how many interceptions? Well, yes, of course you did. You love kindergarten? Because you were made for it. You got your license? Like a boss. You were in the top percent of your class? There is no genius like your genius. 

What were the lows? 
Extend grace. 
For one this part brought grief. My heart broke, but we were able to stand in the grief and speak life. It was our gift to say we are not ashamed of you. Not a hint. We are proud of how you turned that disaster around. No one could've handled that mess better. We are fiercely proud of you. We would tell anyone who asks. You want me to stand up right here in this place and say so? With a bit of wisdom we were also able to look back on the mess and see what was meant to be stolen. We said, Can you see it now? Your dream was not stolen. You are not a shamed failure, nope, you walked out of that mess right into your dream of all dreams. Boom. 

If they are not talking much during this time don't be afraid to ask questions. 
What is a lesson that you learned? 
How did you feel after ___________________?
What are you most proud of? 

Look to the next year
Make sure you don't go into this with expectations. 
Let the conversations ride. 
You know what your kids are involved and interested in. If they can't think of outright goals (read: they probably won't) ask them questions. What time do you want run in Cross Country? Oh, it's going to be so amazing. How many touch downs do you want to make? That's awesome! Then other times their goals stretch you. Oh hello, you want to buy a car? What kind? Let's start looking. You want to raise 10K to go into all the world and teach the gospel? Of course you do. I can't wait to see how it happens. 

Give a parent challenge 
EP and I are on the spot kind of people. Depending on the conversation we will come up with something we feel would challenge them a bit. Last year it was to journal their prayers. This year for one of them it was to share their feelings more, for another to read three books. 

Just so you know, encouraging their current work does not always work. Don't sweat it. Case in point, when we talked to Jude about possibly learning to read he said he would make it his next year goal. We laughed. And though we know he will learn to read this year we did not push making it a goal. He felt riding a two wheeled bike without training wheels and swimming without floats was big enough. 

Jude drew pictures as his "list"

For us the important factors are not whether the goals are big, elaborate, or in the end, even met. The importance for us is for the kids to know we believe in their dreams. They need to know we will help them along to achieve said dreams. Honestly, for us, the most important is the looking straight into their eyes and telling them we are so proud of you, we think you are amazing, and we think your dreams are legit

Their goals will be put somewhere in their room to see everyday. Most likely they will be met. And when they are we will cheer like crazy people. 

So, that's what we do and how we do it. Simple and easy. 

If you do something that you love please share in comments.

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  1. I am crazy in love with this!! We will be starting this with our children, too. I will let you know how it goes and what it looks like for our family. Thank you for sharing this beautiful part of your family life. ~ Rebecca W.

  2. Love it. Spent time with all three today. Thanks lady!

  3. This is amazing! You guys are awesome. Thanks for laying out how you did it. Appreciation from the rookies here :)