How To Help A Child Set Goals

Updated: Aug 10, 2019

Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organised their energies around a goal. - Elbert Hubbard

There is a statistic from a Harvard Business Study relating to goal setting and success among the students:

  • 83% of the population of the class prior to Post graduation do not have goals,

  • 14% have a plan in mind, but goals are unwritten and

  • 3% have goals written down.

The study also showed that the 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals.

The 3% with written goals are three times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals.

These statistics show that it is highly important that a parent teach the child to set goals and have the goals written down by them.

Goals are like a guide map to a child. They help in giving the child:

  • a clear focus,

  • use their potential to the maximum,

  • utilize time effectively,

  • teaches them responsibility,

  • gives them a purpose in life.

  • creates a healthy habit

  • teaches them creative thinking

As a parent, you need to teach your child set up for himself/herself goals that are both SMART & SHARP.


S – Specific (clear)

M - Measurable (how far away completion is)

A – Attainable (to be able to complete)

R – Realistic (should be able to achieve it practically)

T - Time-based & trackable (should have a duration to achieve it)


S - Simplified (simple goal)

H - How (how to achieve it)

A - Action Oriented (to take action)

R - Review (assess and criticize the progress)

P - Progress (to make necessary changes based on the review and continue to work towards the goal)

E.g. “I will score 15 marks more in Science in Quarterly exam”. The child should avoid setting goals like, “I will talk less in class” as this kind of goal is not trackable. Rather the child can have goals like, “I will review the notes taken in class each day.” This type of goal will help the child take notes in class and thereby make them pay attention in class and talk less with their friend or avoid using cell-phone in class if your child is in college. It is important to have short term and simple goals in the life of a child because the child will be able to measure the progress on his/her own.

Next, the parent needs to teach their child how to go about achieving that goal. The child needs to review his/her progress each week end and based on the result, should alter the plans to improve his/her progress towards the goal.


Based on the content above, ask your child to write out a simple goal of his/her choice to achieve in the near future (say 1 month time). You can give them guidelines and examples to choose from.

Some examples of short term goals for the school students:

1. To score 15 marks more in Science (Let them choose the subject that is difficult for them).

2. To review the notes taken during class each day.

3. To learn 5 words (vocabulary) each day.

4. To do research on a topic that is hard to study for 15-20 minutes every alternative day.

5. To complete a small project on a particular topic.

6. To complete any short term course like programming etc. or fun classes like art class, to aid education.

7. To learn about different types of profession and the pioneer in that profession.

8. To practice reading every day for 20 minutes (Poetry, Stories, and Essays etc.).

9. To write a short story (In order to spark the creative side. This goal will in turn help to improve their vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure). The child can even write about the short trip they made that summer or visit to grandma’s house etc.

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