Life Skills for Children A-Z – G is for Goals

Setting goals and planning are life skills we use every day of our lives. Any success in life as adults can often be attributed to how good we are at this.

We are faced with the need to set goals and plan every day whether it’s planning goals to ensure:

  • our jobs are done at work
  • the house is clean
  • we have clean clothes to wear
  • everyone is where they need to be
  • we have time to study for a promotion or a career change
  • saving for an annual holiday
  • keeping to a fitness plan for competing in a triathlon or simple staying healthy

A big determiner in whether we are CANDo “go getters” in life that achieve what we want or simply “reactors” that live life lurching from one disappointment to another, is our ability to set down our goals and focus on achieving them with a plan.

The sooner we can create opportunities for our children to feel the success of setting down a goal, planning how to achieve it and then achieving it, the more internally motivated they’ll become to use goal setting and planning as they grow (and the more likely they are to achieve).So how can you help your child develop into a CANDo, “go getting” achiever?

Walk the Talk

Be a goal setter and planner yourself. Take a look at your own life. Do you wish on stars for this and that and then complain and blame someone else when you don’t get what you want? Or do you turn your wishes into reality by writing them down, planning step by step how to get there and then achieve them?

Help your Child Get to Know Themselves

Use family meetings to talk to your children about what’s important to them. Do they want a new bike, buy a toy they’ve seen on an advert on TV, play with a friend, go swimming, eat ice cream, etc. Use family meetings to identify and write down a few of these goals and work out a plan with them on how they could achieve it, i.e., if there’s money involved are there household activities they can get involved with to earn it, do they need to telephone their friend and arrange a time, do they want to stay up later can they go to bed earlier another day, etc.?

Keep Goals Achievable

If at your family meeting they’re full of ideas for being rocket scientists, building time-machines, etc. give them words of encouragement that they could well do all of that in the future but to get there they need to focus on a few smaller goals first. Steer them towards achievable goals such as “earning” a trip to the swimming pool or to the cinema or “earning” extra pocket money, “earning” extra TV time by taking responsibility for things like getting homework done without being asked. Discuss and agree the “consequences” of them not achieving their goals, i.e., you have to nag them to do their homework then they don’t achieve their goal of extra TV time.

Pin Up a Plan of How to Achieve Their Goals

Keep their plan and goals listed somewhere they can see it and refer to it often.

Keep them Motivated

Set up some kind of chart or motivation system to enable them to see the progress they are making.

Resist the Temptation to “Rescue” Them

If they don’t keep to the plan to achieve their goals don’t be tempted to give in and buy them the toy anyway or let them have their extra TV time.


If they stick to the plan, then follow through and deliver what they’ve worked towards.

Constant Review

Kids develop at an astounding rate. As they develop and change their goals will change with them. Be sure to constantly review their goals and plans on how to achieve them to keep it all relevant.

Becoming goal orientated to achieving things is a “learned life skill”. Help your child to be a CANDo “go getter” by creating opportunities for them to set, plan towards and achieve goals.


Is your child a “go getter”? What goals do they have and how did you help them achieve them? Send us a CANDo email or leave a comment below, we’d love to know how your kids are discovering that they CANDo it too?

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