Goal setting for kids – especially goals around money – needs to have these steps built in for when they lose interest and belief that they’ll actually ever get there.
So, your kiddo has declared a savings goal they’re going to save up for…and gave up on it after only a week (again)?
Heck, it even happens to adults (anyone notice the difference in gym traffic February 1st versus January 1st? Same concept).
Right out the gate, a goal is exciting. Maybe it’s thrilling, slightly intimidating, but makes you feel important enough to announce it to everyone.
Then when the going gets tough – your kiddo sees something else they’d like, or they stop believing they’ll ever actually reach the more expensive goal and so opt for the instant gratification purchase instead – the goal just kind of fades away.
Let’s discuss strategies for getting your child to re-kickstart that savings goal of theirs, even after they’ve lost interest and moved onto the next thing.
Jump Starter #1: Have the “People Make it on the Second-Go-Round” Talk
Chances are, if you point out the fact that your child has given up on their savings goal so soon, it’ll probably make them a bit bummed (if they’re not kicking themselves about it already).
SO, now’s the PERFECT time to introduce a pep-talk with concrete examples of really popular inventions/events/goals where the original person had failed to create on their first try, that we all take for granted today.
A few come to mind for me:
- Walt Disney: The man behind Mickey Mouse was actually fired from a newspaper once because he was thought to not have enough imagination and not enough good ideas. Go figure? Thank goodness that he kept going, as we would have all missed out on Disney World, The Little Mermaid (my personal favorite), and all things cartoons.
- J.K. Rowling: Her goal was to get her Harry Potter series of books published. And yet, she was rejected by 12 different publishers first.
- Jim Carrey: He knew he wanted to be a comedian since before 10. At 15, he took the stage for his first routine ever…and completely bombed it. But he kept going!
Jump Starter #2: Break the Original Goal Down into Pre-Chosen Rewards
Goal setting for kids 101: Your child has got to BELIEVE that they can actually reach their savings goal. Otherwise? Well…they’ll give up again.
Adults do it all the time! Like…:
- I can’t actually save up for a trip to Paris, so instead I’ll use the money I have saved up for a beach weekend getaway.
- Paying off all our debt is impossible to do, so instead of throwing any extra money towards it, I’ll let it get eaten by our checking account gremlin.
- I feel really crummy about not getting what I really want, so I’ll spend $9.42 on my Starbucks order.
This go-round, help them break the goal down into tinier chunks with rewards at the end of each.
It’s like building a personal board game of rewards!
So, for example: a purchase goal that will take $52 can be broken down into three $17 chunks. Each time your child achieves a $17 increase in their savings, they can reward themselves – with your blessing – by:
- Having a friend sleepover.
- Getting to choose what’s for dinner (Mama’s homemade cooking!).
- Getting to choose the movie for family movie night.
Jump Starter #3: Introduce a “Surprise” Money Incentive
This time ‘round when goal setting for kids, keep them motivated for longer by introducing a surprise money incentive from the Bank of Mom & Dad.
Choose a random week (perhaps when they seem a little eager to give up…like week 2), and tell them that all money that hits their savings account for their goal by Friday is going to be doubled by you guys!
Goal setting for kids is really about stretching and growing their instant gratification muscle. And it’s hard to do. You’ve now got 3 smart strategies for getting your child to follow through with their goals. Which are you most excited to try?