Do Your Kids Know How To Set SMART Goals?

Apr 18, 2023 Family & Finances

Encourage your child to think about what they hope to accomplish in the future and teach them how to be goal-oriented.

A man with his arm around a young boy, he is looking at the boy and they are both laughing.

A Harvard study found that students who set goals before graduation ultimately earned twice as much than those who didn’t. Those who went a step further and wrote their goals down, earned 10 times as much as their peers.

The main takeaway from the study suggests goal setting has a direct correlation to performance. Parents and caregivers can help ensure kids practice and develop this skill. As you guide your child through their goal-setting journey, keep the following recommendations in mind.

Setting SMART Goals

Let Them Choose

When identifying goals, it’s nice to give your child the reins; they are, after all, the one who will have to put in the work. Ignite the discussion by asking what they want to do, be, or have. Most often, these questions will lead to responses that not only have meaning to them but contain a financial component.

Talk About The Possibilities

The perfect goal should be challenging enough to keep your child motivated without being completely out of reach. Use their responses to the above questions to determine which one of those dreams or desires can realistically come to life. Conduct research together to determine how much they’d need to save.

Don’t Forget The Details

Get them into the habit of setting SMART goals; this stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. A goal of theirs may be to buy a toy – a SMART goal would state they’d save $15 for a basketball in five weeks by taking on additional chores at home and saving at least $3 per week.

Focus On Stepping Stones

One of the benefits of setting SMART goals is that children have milestones they need to meet regularly. For example, if your child’s goal is to purchase that basketball, they’d know they were on track if they saved $3 each week leading up to the deadline. If they had a shortfall, they’d know they’d need to make up for it.

Evaluate & Celebrate

When the deadline comes around, evaluate what went well and what could’ve been done differently. If the goal is within reach and you simply ran out of time, consider extending the target date.

Positive reinforcement and celebrating successes are important. Congratulate your child on job well done, even if the goal was only partially met. Some progress is better than no progress.

Two young girls playing on a playground.
Life Guidance for:

Raising Money-Smart Kids

Talking to kids about money is not only acceptable but also encouraged. Use our tips to help your child understand and practice age-appropriate money management skills.

Related Articles

Banking on each other.
Building stronger communities.®