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  • Free to Be Mindful

3 Tips to Help Kids Set Goals

As 2023 kicks off and the new year begins a fresh chapter in our lives, it’s a great time to create new goals to fill the pages. Our new year's resolutions can help pave the way for our journeys, and just like adults have goals in mind they want to achieve, children do too! Helping our kids form their resolutions or set goals for themselves encourages them to understand that life doesn’t just happen to them, but that they have an active part in their lives themselves.

Here are 3 Tips to Help Kids Set Goals:

1. Identity where they want to improve. Maybe your child doesn’t want to specifically improve on their whining or focus on cleaning their room—or maybe they don’t realize these are things they struggle with. However, by guiding the conversation toward outcomes that benefit you both, you can practice positive reinforcement as a tool for encouraging goals. For example, if your child wants their friends to come over but their room hasn’t been cleaned yet, they can clean their room first. As a result, they receive the positive reinforcement of their friends coming over while also learning how to practice good habits.

2. Help your kids set specific and measurable goals. Assist them with making a plan on how to achieve these goals and help them set up a timeline so the goals are realistic and can be celebrated when achieved. You can personalize these goal structures as you feel necessary. One possible goal structure can be creating quarterly goals (i.e choosing one specific goal for each quarter) as goals can change over a timeframe and this allows your child to also feel like they have choices as well.

3. Have your child identify one to two action items that can help them achieve the specific goals in mind. What does this goal mean to them? How can they reach that goal? Asking questions such as these can lead to them understanding their expectations of themselves, and create ways for them to celebrate when they achieve that goal.

By helping our kids with setting goals that are personalized to them, they can be active in their developmental journeys and celebrate the milestones along the way.


Vanessa De Jesus Guzman is an Educator and a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked with children and families for two decades. Vanessa is the owner and CEO of Free to Be Mindful - a private practice located in Ridgefield, New Jersey.

Vanessa is passionate about helping moms, kids and educators with mindful living, mental health and personal growth through efforts including:

Vanessa has been featured on the Today Show, Univision, Parents Latina and more, always sharing her passion of helping others Learn, Grow & Inspire… all with mindfulness in mind.

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