Thursday, January 26, 2012

Helping Youth Set Goals

Perhaps you have set some goals for yourself this year, but what about your children?  4-H is one avenue of encouraging youth to set goals.  A 4-H project is planning and experiencing activities around a topic.  When 4-H participants select projects, it helps them explore topics they are interested in and to set goals. 4-H has lots of fun materials that help youth explore many different topics, from woodworking, electricity, animals to photography and more.  When kids glance through a project manual, they may see lots of things they would like to do in the project.  Setting a goal can be as simple as stating, “I want to learn about…..” or “I want to make…..”
As youth get older, they have more and more 4-H areas they can set goals in.

Different ages are at different stages with goal setting.  For a 5-8 year old, exploring possibilities is more important than reaching a goal.  9-11 year olds are setting short-term goals.  12-14 year olds are planning strategies to reach goals.  15-18 year olds are implementing strategies to meet goals and looking toward life planning.  (Targeting Life Skills Model by Patricia A Hendricks)

One key to helping youth set goals is to help pick an area your child is excited about.  One model that is fun to explore is the idea of sparks.  Everyone has something that provides a spark for them, something that excites them and that they are passionate about.  By age 11, youth are starting to develop a spark for something.   Check out this list for ideas on areas that may provide a spark for your tween or teen. 

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