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Goal-Setting for Kids

My husband and I like creating goals, having checklists and planning. We’d like our kids to be able to set and keep goals as well. It’s important for personal spiritual growth.

Getting the kids involved in their own goal-setting is important. Helping them create goals that are doable, measurable and achievable now will help them in the future as well. So I want to share a few ideas that your family can use in setting goals for the kids. Parents, let's walk beside our kids this new year and help them in their own personal and spiritual growth.

There are many goal ideas for kids. You can help tailor ones for your children that they can do, that would be meaningful in your family and that truly are achievable. Keep it simple and start small. Let them lead on what they’d like to focus on.

Four Types of Faith-Based Goals

  1. Spiritual
  2. Acts of Kindness
  3. Developing Fruits of the Spirit
  4. Practice Gratitude

Spiritual Goals

First, when I think about goals, spiritual goals are usually at the top of my own personal list. I definitely want my kids to make spiritual goals for their life. These goals can include Bible reading, scripture memorization, prayer, involvement in church and more.

Setting goals to help grow our spiritual life is a great idea for every member of the family. Yes, kids can participate and do this too. Maybe kids want to listen to one chapter of the Bible every day. They might even want to memorize a Bible verse weekly.

Keeping a prayer journal is another great idea that might help them keep a prayer goal. Get creative, let your kids lead in their own goal setting, and cheer them on and encourage them on their journey.

Acts of Kindness

Prov. 11:17 tells us, “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.”

Setting goals for kindness helps us all, don’t you think? I truly want my kids to develop a kind and loving character towards others. Helping them set goals for kindness not only benefits others but truly helps them.

Examples of kindness goals could be including others at school during lunch recess, helping siblings with homework every Thursday evening, bringing church bulletins to sick/elderly on Sabbath afternoon, making cards for missing church members once a month, feeding the homeless one night a month, collecting canned food at the holidays and so much more.

Ask your children what they like to do best. Their goals need to be their own. Remember to help them create goals that are meaningful, doable, measurable and achievable.

Developing Fruits of the Spirit

Gal. 5:22–23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

We’ve featured kindness in its own category but could there be other goals that kids can have that relate to the other fruits? Patience and self-control are both fruits that my entire family can grow in.

If your kids want to make a goal of being more patient or practicing self-control, then really be intentional about noticing when they do this. Praise them, direct them, provide feedback and then praise them more.

Practicing Gratitude

1 Thess. 5:18 tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

This goal is important for the whole family. Get your kids involved. Practicing gratitude helps us to keep our focus on the positive things that God has blessed us with. It helps us remember how much God truly loves us.

The impact on mental health, of practicing gratitude daily, is so great. Kids can set their own gratitude goals pretty easily, and this goal is very doable. We all need to be practicing gratitude, don’t we?

Setting goals is good for us all. Model this to your children. Share with them your own goals. Don’t pick so many goals that they become undoable. Start small, keep it simple. Track your progress and think of meaningful rewards for the kids when they meet their goals.

It’s okay to adjust the goals if they are not working. Pray together as a family, asking God to help you with these new goals. What goals will you and the kids be setting this year?

We’d love to hear about them at Northwest Adventists. We also would love to cheer you on. Connect with us by emailing

Featured in: January/February 2024



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