Short-term goals for kids look different than short-term goals for adults (or even for teens). I discuss why, plus give loads of examples to use.
Short term goals for kids are a great way to get a child:
- Motivated to do something that will make a difference in their life
- On-track to learn critical goal-setting and goal-getting skills
- Focused on something specific
- Building great habits to pave the way for a lifetime of accomplishments
I believe in short-term goals for kids and teens SO much – particularly for short-term savings goals to teach kids all about money – that I’m dedicating this entire article to the subject.
Let’s get started!
What is a Short-Term Goal for Kids (and What Isn’t)?
The first thing we’ve got to understand is what makes a short-term goal for a kid.
Because a short-term goal for kids? Is different than one for adults (or even teens).
Think about it: compared with teens and adults, kids have different resources, different capabilities, and (typically) undeveloped delayed gratification muscles.
Because of this, “short-term” means something different than it would for other age groups.
That’s why I define a short-term goal for kids as:
A specific outcome a child works on accomplishing that will take them longer than “right now” for them to achieve, but shorter than one month, given their current capabilities and current resources.
Capabilities and Resources can include:
- People they can ask for help
- Ability to stay motivated
- Ability to delay gratification
- Skills to complete the goal
Short-term goals for kids can be an education goal, a life goal, a personal goal, a savings goal, a religious goal, etc. (and within those categories, it can be one of these three different goal types: process goals, performance goals, and outcome goals).
And we’ll go over examples of all of these.
For now, I’ll leave you with one example of a short-term goal for a child:
To read one new chapter each night, for the next week, from a chapter book.
Remember when goal setting for kids, you need to use their resources and their capabilities to determine how long a goal will take to accomplish.
For example, they might only have a $2.50/week allowance, so a short-term savings goal of 1 month or less would have to be for something that costs $10.00 or less (vs. for an adult, who has a lot more money at their disposal).
Alright, let’s move on to the actual short-term goal examples.
Short-Term Goals for Kids
You’ll find a variety of short-term goals for kids here, including examples for different categories of goals (educational, personal, money goals, etc.) as well as types of goals (process goals, performance goals, and outcome goals).
These goals can work for kids of all ages – a 10-year-old child, a child in 3rd grade, in 5th grade, tweens, etc.
Pssst: you might want to pair a goal with one of these goal setting worksheets for kids or teenage goal setting worksheets PDFs. Also, none of these goals are broken down into SMART goals. Here’s my article on examples of good and bad smart goals for students.
- Read one book not assigned by a teacher
- Make a first store transaction using their own money
- Read one chapter from a chapter book each night
- Sell an old set of toys to afford a new one you want
- Walk the dog for 20 minutes each day
- Win the Spelling Bee competition in their grade
- Earn a girl scout or boy scout badge
- Learn 1 new scale on an instrument
- Ask at least one question to a teacher, every single day
- Learn about a career path they’re interested in (astronaut, teacher, president, etc. – here’s free career exploration for kids resources)
- Learn a new magic trick from start to finish
- Start work on a school project at least 10 days ahead of time
- Learn one new coding skill
- Learn a new crafting (like knitting stitch) or baking skill (like cake pops)
- Write their first business plan for an idea, using one of these business plan templates for kids
- Save money from one allowance pay cycle, to the next (in other words, for just one week of allowance, don’t spend it all)
- Save up to buy a new video game
- Get in the top 10 sellers for a fundraiser at school
- Learn how to cook a meal on their own
- Learn three phrases in a different language
- Open a checking account
- Choose a charity to donate part of your allowance to
- Write a short story and submit it to a kid’s writing publication
- Take an online kid yoga class two times a week (like Cosmic Kids Yoga)
- Write a song and record it on a computer
- Draw building plans for a treehouse
- Join a free stock market game for kids
- Create your own recipe and write it down (lots of experimenting, here!)
- Write a letter to a congressman about a cause or something else that you’d like to see changed
- Shadow an adult at work
- Create a time capsule and bury it
- Write two times/week in a diary or journal
- Plan an epic Lego build, and start the build
- Create a scrapbook of last year
- Track all of their spending for two allowance/chore pay cycles
- Complete one extra chore on the chore chart per week to earn money (negotiate with parents)
- Write and send (with parent's help) a first letter in the mail
Remember that one of the most important things when choosing short-term goals for kids to go after? Is choosing something that they have a vested interest in. That way, they'll be wayyyy more likely to put forth the effort to get it done. And your next step, after they choose a goal? Is to whip it into shape (aka, make it a SMART (ER) goal for kids).
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