Tips to Set Healthy Goals With Your Kids

Tips to Set Healthy Goals with Your Kids

We’ve all heard the saying, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So how to we make those wishes into goals? And how do we help our kids learn to do the same? It all starts with making a plan and writing it down.

I think we can all agree that learning to set goals is an important skill for our kids to learn. And how do we learn things best? By doing of course! So let’s help our kids learn to set goals and turn those wishes into goals.


First up, focus. There are so many things that we can choose from to work on (at least that’s how I feel about my life, so many areas that need work!). But we can’t do it all, and we certainly can’t do it all at once. So find one specific area that you and your child want to work on together. Here are some examples of specific areas to focus on:

  • Improving fitness
  • Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables we eat
  • Finding new active interests
  • Trying new foods

Make It Specific

Now make it specific. You can’t expect to get fit as a family by simply saying we need to be more active. You need a plan (remember our quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”). So let’s be specific. Fitness goals can be made specific by giving an amount of time you want to spend each week being active. Food goals can be specific by focusing on the amount of servings of fruits and vegetables you want to have each day.

Put some numbers in your plan and write it down! You might even consider giving your child their very own journal to help them keep track of their progress and accomplishments.

Work Together

You may have noticed the word “together” a few paragraphs back. That’s our next tip: work together. You’ve got to have the support of those around you in order to make positive changes.

And families are a perfect support system. We can be each other’s cheerleaders. We can give pep talks when things get tough. And we can find ways to work together! Families are a great support system, and that’s exactly what we need to be successful in accomplishing our goals.

Stay Positive

Next, keep it positive! No one likes to be told what not to do (that’s my experience anyway, especially toddlers!). So why not focus on things we should be doing more of. It’s easier to focus on things we should be doing, rather than mentally beating ourselves up for things we think we shouldn’t be doing. It’s all about moderation anyways! So focus on positive habits, and the bad habits will naturally fall away. When we fill our lives with good habits, we no longer have room for the bad ones.

Another note on keeping it positive. Let’s not focus on our bodies, and start focusing on our actions instead. We want our kids to have positive body images, and setting goals for losing weight or inches is not what we want them to be focusing on.

Maybe trimming up is a natural consequence of your goals, but let’s not make it the focus.

Have Fun

Along the lines of focusing on positivity, don’t forget the fun! Our kids won’t stay motivated if they aren’t having a good time. Find ways to celebrate your goals along the way. Small rewards at certain check points can help your kids stay motivated and have fun at the same time.

Here’s a great example: maybe your family goal is to be more active; specifically you want to spend at least one hour a week being active together. Let’s say you’ve accomplished your goal for 2 weeks in a row. Great job! Now have a mini dance party in the kitchen to celebrate your accomplishment. (And hey, that 20 minutes of dancing helps you meet your goal for the week as well!)

Choose the Right Rewards

That leads us to our last tip: choose the right rewards. It’s counterproductive to reward our healthy eating habits with a nice, large slice of chocolate cake. So let’s focus on healthy rewards. Maybe it’s extra time at the park or a new family board game. Find motivating family rewards to help you stay excited and reach your goals at the same time.

So at your next family meeting, start setting the plan in motion to make those wishes your new reality. Start by focusing on specific goals; work together and stay positive; have lots of fun along the way and celebrate with the right rewards!

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