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How to raise children who can set SMART goals

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[FILES] When children are involved in setting goals, they will learn how to have an investment in seeing their goals become reality. Photo: PIXABAY

Imagine parents who raise their children with the skill they need to set smart goals. This is something that can be taught at a young age. When children are involved in setting goals, they will learn how to have an investment in seeing their goals become reality. Just like the process of training a muscle, the more practice children have with being part of planning their lives, the more they grow with a sense of purpose.

When it comes to raising children who know how to set smart goals, we need to know what the ingredients of a Smart Goal are. One of my goals as a parent is for my children to understand the concept of wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and business. I intentionally introduced them to watching Shark Tank and now they love watching it regularly.

We get to see the way the various entrepreneurs present their vision and their businesses, their confidence, and clarity when they are sharing their goals. In addition, they see children who are doing amazing things pitch their businesses in front of tough judges.

I am still amazed at how much my children enjoy Shark Tank and how quickly they calculate the valuation of companies. Once the entrepreneurs offer a percentage of their company as equity, my mini sharks at home immediately start commenting on whether it is fair or over-ambitious. How I wish I had a sense of business from as young as 10 years old!

This story of Shark Tank is just to show that our children are much more capable of understanding more than we think they can. A child who is encouraged to explore various goals and can learn from feedback and failure is set to be successful.

Setting SMART Goals
The difference between a goal (aka a wish) and a SMART goal is whether or not the goal can be backed by plans necessary to achieve them.

Smart Goals are Specific
When it comes to setting smart goals, the S stands for specific. A specific goal is clearly defined with a precise purpose. For example, a specific goal could be a child who wants to read more books. Your child could make the goal specific by saying he will read one new book per week.

Smart Goals are Measurable
When it comes to the smart goals, the M stands for measurable goals, this means that your goal is not ambiguous. You can actually measure if you are achieving your goals or not. For example, your child’s goal is to read a new book per week; this is easily measurable because at the end of the week, your child can either check it off as having been achieved or not.

Smart Goals are Achievable
The A stands for attainable or achievable. This means that the goal is something that can be attainable because you have the resources or the control to try to make it happen.

For goals to be attainable, you don’t want to set a goal that you have no control over. For example, it is not realistic for a child to set a goal to travel to a new country this year because the child has no control over it. You can raise children who understand the difference between a wish and an actual goal. However, in the example of reading a new book, this is a goal that the child has control over. While the child might need minimal input from her parents or caregivers, it is relatively easy to find a way to get a new book per week; which could include the school library or through a book swap with their friends or cousins.

Do you see the difference between wishful thinking and a goal? How much control do you (or your child) have to make it happen? For a child who sets a goal to go on an International trip, he or she would need to rely on their parents spending a lot of money, getting them a travel visa, booking the flight, etc.

We also want to be careful that the Smart goal setting does not become a materialistic exercise; it is not a goal for an 8-year-old to want to get the new iPhone. Goals like, “I would like to make new friends in class,” or “I will run for the school council,” are things that your child can achieve.

Smart Goals are Realistic
A Smart goal is realistic and can be achieved given the available resources. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished. For example, a child who wants to get better at swimming this year could decide to go swimming every week.

Smart Goals are Time-Bound A Smart goal must be time-bound with a start and finish date. If the goal does not have a time set to achieve it, there will be no sense of motivation to achieve it. It is helpful as you train your child to ask him or her if their goal has a deadline and by when they want to achieve the goal.

Mindset for Achieving Goals
These are the parts of setting SMART goals, the more you do it the easier it gets. We can all raise our children to be involved in goal-setting from a young age. This will help your child cultivate the right mindset for achieving their goals.
Life is really a set of goals as the seasons of life change. The ability to measure yourself against the things you want to achieve is crucial for a successful life. Setting smart goals encourages hard work and the understanding that you are in control of your future. You need to show up, give your best and keep growing.

As it is a New Year this is a perfect time for your child to set some simple but SMART goals. As a parent and the chief mentor, support your child to achieve the goals that they set. Remember to teach them that there is nothing like a failure, rather it is feedback.


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