Teaching a Kid about Goal Setting

15 May

Just recently, my daughter told me that she wanted to have a specific board game.  I told her that she has more than enough toys and maybe we can give some to charity so she’ll have space for the new board game.  She wanted it so badly that I eventually said, “Maybe you can save up for it?”.  She liked the idea.  Now, my daughter is in the First Grade so I was wondering what she can do to earn that money.  It was an opportunity to teach her and my son about goal-setting.             

About 2 weeks ago, my husband told the kids that he’s going to give them a penny for each weed(dandelion) that they pull up.  My daughter was psyched while my son didn’t even know what that meant.     

One week forward… my daughter hands a sheet of paper to my husband with the dates and the amount he owes her… It totaled… $10.63!  We were stunned.  How can she possibly get that much ?  My mom was the witness.  She worked hard for it every afternoon.  My son… he got maybe $2.00, maybe less.  He may not be ready for this yet but he’ll get the idea. 

Last Saturday, they opened up their piggy banks and counted how much they had.  Then we went to ToysR’Us.  They bought toys using their hard-earned money.  It was fun seeing them pay for their toys themselves.  They felt really good and I think that made the toys more valuable to them. 

One lesson learned but now we need to be consistent at letting them see the value of goal-setting.  My daughter set her mind on it, worked for it, and got what she wanted. 


Posted by on May 15, 2007 in Uncategorized


8 responses to “Teaching a Kid about Goal Setting

  1. mkrules

    May 18, 2007 at 1:21 pm


    Great idea about the weeds by your hubby! My mom always made me pay for my own extras growing up. If I didn’t like the shampoo she bought, I had to get my own, etc. It really taught me that if you want something, you have to work for it. I attribute my good work ethic to my upbringing by her.

  2. colleen

    May 19, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    I had to pay my way through school although my mom did pay for most of it. I think that teaching people and kids in particular a good work ethic prepares them for the future and adulthood.

  3. crystalreflections

    May 20, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    I wish that for my kids. I grew up not having everything – partly because we are such a big family. I guess that made me conscious of the real value of money. I am happy I was born to a huge family because that taught me a lot of things – real good things.

  4. kmhchimo

    May 28, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I am appalled! I will have to think why this upsets me so much, and then come back and try to articulate it. 😦 kmh

  5. crystalreflections

    May 30, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Just an update…
    I don’t want to give the impression that we were forcing them or making them do our work. It was an open invitation – kinda like we want to see who’s ready for this kinds of lessons. My son, clearly is not but my daughter is. I failed to mention that I got the idea from her. In one of the papers that she brought home from school, she wrote that she will work hard for money. It was a bait that she took. Did they do it again after that week? Nope. We never discussed it again. They see us taking weeds off while they run around the yard.
    kmh, is this what upsets you? I assure you that they are still kids in our house and they do kid stuff. It was initiated for the “lesson” part, not to make our lives easier and theirs miserable. If I am wrong, please let me know what about it? I am sure I will learn something from what you have to say. The kids are young and I have a lot more to learn. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  6. kmhchimo

    June 6, 2007 at 6:38 am

    I think it was the “behaviour modification” techniques being practised that upset me, as well as having to “pay” for something that benefits the whole family. To me, we all work together for the family goals. If she earned her money at the neighbour’s that would be fine, as it would be their goals she was helping to realize, so there would be a boss-employee relationship. I know when we were kids we all had chores and got an allowance (like clean your room, do dishes x number of times a week, etc.) all for a whopping 25 cents–ha! (sorry if that shows my age). And we could earn “extra” money (maybe a nickle) for special chores like cleaning the piano keys with milk. But if we wanted REAL money, we babysat, or shoveled snow, or mowed lawns, or delivered newspapers. By the time I was 12, I had a real bank savings account, and was very proud to put money in each week. Your children are obviously younger. I think at your daughter’s age, my sisters and I were holding Kool-Aid sales at the front of our driveway (I’m sure it cost my Mom more in ingredients than we ever earned–ha!). I used to have a Psych prof. who made his children “earn” every treat, including him taking them to the movies, or whatever! IF they did what he wanted. It was all behaviour modification, with him choosing the appropriate behaviours. I am VERY GLAD to read that it was your daughter’s choice about which chore and how much she was willing to sell her services for. Once she had reached HER goal of money she wanted to earn, then she had the right to stop. That makes me feel better. Thanx, kmh

  7. crystalreflections

    June 6, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for stating your concerns. I understand what you are saying 100%.
    You see, I was brought up in a country where the culture is so much different from here. I grew up not having my own voice in almost everything. I was taught that I cannot question anything that anybody who is older than I was said. That meant having to keep what I thought to myself. That also meant I had to do whatever they told me to or I was a bad kid. I didn’t want to be a bad kid so I did everything everybody wanted. I had that in me and found out later in life that I found it real hard to make a decision. I was so used to having somebody tell me what to do that I really didn’t know what I want. Weird, huh? I am the eighth among 9 siblings so you can only imagine how selfless I have become. I was also the doer in the family. We were newly weds when we migrated and I had to go through a mind-shifting-process so can survive here, in America.
    Having said all that, imposing what we want to my kids is not on our list. We try to make them make their own decisions – simple ones. “What do you want for breakfast – cereals or bread?” In our home country, moms(or the maids) make that decision and kids just eat what is given to them. We try to encourage them to think and ask the right questions so then they will be prepared to tackle what’s before them.
    My mom is here for a visit and she has seen how much different we are raising them. Yes, sometimes, when the kids speak their minds, it is being misconstrued as disrespect (which is a #1 no-no in our culture). My mom is open-minded and she now understands that we have to prepare the kids for the real world and at the same time, encourage them to be their own selves.
    I’m glad you mentioned behavior-modification. I’ve been searching for that word. 😉 We strive not to do that. However, if it is a question of being right or wrong, we stand firm on what is right. The kids know that. We are easy on the minor stuff but they know that if we insist on something, it is because it is the right thing to do.
    I hope this makes you feel better about the whole thing, kmh. Thanks for your honesty and also for making a point. I love it when I read other people’s comments. It just makes me more cautious.

  8. mkrules

    June 8, 2007 at 12:16 pm


    My mom was the same way when I was growing up. She expected me to work very hard around the house and if I didn’t do as expected I felt worthless. This affected my self esteem for many years. It is funny though because it also taught me to be a hard worker, so it’s not all bad. I think I will be a strict parent, but I will also be a little more understanding as well.

    I still see nothing wrong with what your daughter did with the weeds. This reminds me of a time my dad’s friend said he’d pay me $20 if I could do 20 cartwheels in a row without falling down. Could I? NO. But dang it, I tried all day almost. This thing with the weeds was a good lesson and will be a fond memory for her when she is older I think.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: