Christopher Smith MD Author


Goal Setting: Setting Up Our Children for the Short and Long Term

Dear Dads, 

As we enter a new year, it’s important for parents to nurture their children’s growth and future potential so they can end each year stronger than how they entered it. One way to help your child reach their full potential is to teach them how to set and accomplish goals. Whether the goals are big or small, long-term or short-term may be up to your child, but successfully reaching any goal is essential in helping children build self-confidence and make strides toward becoming responsible, productive adults. 

Setting goals requires critical thinking about the future. Young people need to know how to assess where they are now, and determine what resources they need in order to get wherever they hope to go. This may involve setting clear expectations while understanding these obligations stand even when challenges arise. Your child might be working towards a certain grade at school, and will need to understand that they will need to stay focused, even if distractions arise. 

As a parent, you can help your child develop critical thinking by talking about different strategies for reaching their goals. They may want to break large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, or enlist the help of mentors outside the family.

It’s also helpful for your child to understand which types of goals are most beneficial for them in the long run. A great starting point while trying to achieve a goal is developing good habits. Habits like getting enough sleep each night, eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and engaging in creative activities give your child a strong foundation on which they can build. This mindset will serve your child well as they age and strive for higher achievements. Not only do  they cultivate healthier physical and mental well-being but they also provide meaningful learning experiences that encourage natural exploration and creativity.

We also want to teach our youth how to set goals that can help them stay organized and committed in their pursuits. To do so effectively, it’s necessary to break down larger objectives into smaller steps. This makes the goal feel much more achievable, and gives kids structure, and a sense of control over their own success. It’s also important for you to share examples from your own life about how setting goals has led you toward achieving amazing things. This will help motivate your children to follow in your footsteps and set ambitious but realistic goals of their own!

Finally, don’t forget that celebrating successes is just as important as setting new goals! We want to reinforce the idea that hard work pays off! If a child has achieved one of their goals (even if it’s something small), offer praise and rewards that reinforce positive behavior while providing motivation for further growth down the line. 

Remember: no matter how big or small your child’s aspirations are, they are always worth encouraging! With the right guidance at home plus some dedication on behalf of our youngest generations—the future looks very bright indeed!


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