Asked & Answered: Goal Setting for Kids

All responses taken from our Facebook groups: Foster Parenting Toolbox and Kinship Parenting Group.

What does healthy goal-setting look like for kids? How can you support – and not pressure – your kids to set and achieve goals? We asked current foster, adoptive and kinship parents for their recommendations. Here’s what they told us:

“​​Executive function skills. The Pathway 2 Success website has some good resources.”

“Be the example: model and reinforce.”

“Do healthy goal setting for yourself. Kids pay attention to what you do and don’t do. You can do your own goal setting near the kids and then invite them to make some goals of their own if they’d like.”

“Make the goals achievable, quantifiable and note how they respond to positive feedback. For some children with trauma backgrounds external positive feedback can be complicated if they don’t have a good basis for trust of others. That’s to say, if adults, for example, have consistently been untrustworthy, then their feedback is also suspect. Just tread lightly and observe carefully how they respond to achieving goals.”

“I have younger kids. It’s nice to find small ways to help them achieve a goal each day. Our goal today is to be kind to two people. What are some kind things we can do at school or daycare? (hold the door open for a friend, invite someone to play, etc.) We always make steps or accomplish most of those small goals together especially if they have a bad day, etc.

We have been working on building confidence with the small goals and practicing putting values into action (kindness, honesty, etc.) My 7-year-old helped a person behind us at the store who was in an electric cart — put her groceries up on the belt, and the person gave her $5! Her face was priceless.

Potty training is basically a big goal – we can call it potty training or potty goals!

Depending on trauma some older kids may need to take goal setting in smaller steps like this as well. Find a way to boost confidence and give them small wins!”

Want to be part of the next discussion? Join one of our groups.