Teaching children the art of goal setting is one way to set them up for a lifetime of success. As adults we know that if we don’t make a plan, we rarely hit the target. Children have not yet fully developed their executive functioning skills so explicitly teaching goal setting is important and helpful.

Start Small

Start with a small steps and have students set goals for the week. Have them think about their academics or home life right now and identify what they wish it looked like. It can be an academic goal such as reading for a longer time or something at home such as getting their room cleaned up. Once they identified their current situation and the ideal situation, help them come u with 3 action steps they can take to get to their ideal goal. It is always easier to start with something small before jumping into longer term goals. Do this as many times as needed so that your students can understand the process to goal setting.

The prompt you can use is:

By the end of the week, I will have _____________. The action steps I will take are _______, _____, and _______.

Teach them to Track

Once they have set their weekly goal. They can think of ways that support their goal. Are their daily habits or tasks that can be completed so that they can reach their goal easier and keep it consistent. Looking at your bigger goal daily will help them to keep it at the forefront of their mind. Writing down your goals and reviewing them is important. It will help keep the student consistent and allow them to figure out if they need to adjust the goal. Perhaps the goal was to easy to reach or maybe it was so big it needed to be broken down more.

Goal Setting for Kids

If you would like to hold a goal setting workshop this is a great outline with activities.

Big Picture Thinking

After working on setting goals for shorter duration of time it is an incredible step to look at goal setting from a further perspective. There are many activities to help students with big picture thinking that can incorporate both art and ELA (English Language Arts). Students can choose a specific target to write about and create a collage. For example, you can have them write about their dream car, house, job, or life and after writing they can create a PowerPoint presentation or collage. They can create a presentation on their future. You can even have a “Welcome to Our Future Life!” At the exposition students can display their work while viewing classmates work as well.

It is easy to overlook these skills and focus mainly on academics. Strengthening executive functioning skills one at a time help children to become independent, happy, successful adults. If you are looking for a good book to add to your classroom library. It is a workbook but children can use their notebooks to add their own information. Well worth checking out.