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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Leisure Time Goal Setting for Your Kids

By Andrew Loh

Kids, by their nature and kind, cannot concentrate and focus on a particular task. They tend to get distracted very quickly and this distraction actually deters and prevents them from achieving long-term goals. A year or more could be very long time for your kid. Helping your kids to set and achieve very small goals during their leisure time could be one of the easiest and efficient techniques. Kids get their leisure time every day, in the weekend and during summer holidays. You can set very small goals for them to work during these time slots.

Leisure time is a great way to introduce your kids to set and achieve goals. Before setting any goals, you will need to sit down with your kid/s and start talking about options and possibilities, to detect and find the type of activities that get your kid get excited and thrilled about. You will also need to find out about the type of goals that really charge your kids up, motivate and energize them and light a fire that catalyzes them to go for the goals. Another simple and easier way that energizes your kid to work for the goal is to set a common goal for you and the kid, and start working for them as a team. For example, you can set a simple goal with your kid just to do grocery shopping. After completing your grocery shopping, you can say, "I feel happy that we have managed to complete what we set out to do. It is always satisfying when we succeed in doing things we have planned." Some other common goals that you and your kids can participate together are:

  • Tidying up and cleaning the kid's room and arrange all those scattered toys neatly on the table.

  • Get the dinner ready in time.

  • Set a goal to weed and water the garden by the end of the week

Teamwork brings the best of any team member and it is true with your family as well. If you feel that you have a special interest or passion for a subject, you can ask your kid to participate with you to work on those issues. Perhaps, it could be simple dining room chore like cleaning up the cooking table and washing dishes. Another excellent team goal could be planning to give a party to other kids by the weekend, and get ready to host the party as a team.

However, every kid in this world will have his or her own likes and dislikes, passion and urge to work on a cherished subject. If you find that your kid is inclined to work on his or her own self, you may need to step aside and allow your kid to work individually and on his or her own effort. Under such a scenario, you will need to appreciate and applaud your children’s capabilities towards achieving allotted goals. Reward and appreciate your kid for his or her timeliness, dedication, commitment, perseverance and work performed.

Tip: Your kid is not a perfect human being who can always deliver the best. Have patience and appreciate the fact that he or she did try to complete the allotted goal.

Here is a flowchart that will tell you how you can help your kid to set and achieve meaningful goals:

Ask your kid think about and create a list in detail, what his or her goals look like, when she or he may reach those goals. You may also provide him or her some pictures and illustrations that relate to the set goals. Your kid can collect some illustrations and pictures to create an attractive album. Ensure that your kid will see, inspect and go through that album almost on a consistent basis. You can also teach your kid how to write a detailed action plan that lists various issues and topics that will help him or her in reaching or achieving those goals.

A simple approach is to write out the steps or actions that he or she will take forward to reach the elusive goalpost. You can also teach him or her about the importance of setting very small goals and later working forward to achieve them. These small goals could be:

  • Arranging all the toys and playthings by the weekend

  • Finishing off all pending homework by the weekend

  • Learn wearing tie and shoes within the next 10 days.

Also, suggest that he or she must try to work towards some definite objectives, however smaller they are. Once your kid learns how to write an action plan that helps to travel towards the goal post, you can rest assured that he or she is on the way to tackle all minor challenges and problems.

The intricate process of setting meaningful goals, taking suitable action on them and later achieving substantial success, is very critical for the future success of your kid. This will also help them to learn self motivation and self esteem, which are so essential for both personal and professional success. In the end, it is not really the size of the goal that matters to your kid, but the satisfaction gained by reaching those elusive goalposts, that provide that giant fillip or a launching vehicle for future success. 


Child Development

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