“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
When you consider your own money management accounts, which spark the most joy? The generalized savings, or the specialized account earmarked for a tropical vacation? You’re likely more motivated to match 401k contributions when you have a very detailed idea of what you want your retirement to look like, and when you want it to happen. Let’s explore how you can teach these same principles to your BusyKid via SMART goal setting, which transforms ambiguous ideas into an achievable plan.
SMART stands for
- Time bound
Remember that “Specific is Terrific!” and the simplest way to explore this with your children as they set their savings goals on the BusyKid app is to ask them “who, what, when, where, why?” Kids are usually familiar with the “five w’s”, and this exercise helps them fully envision what they want. Precise goals allow for precise efforts!
To be certain your child’s goal is measurable, ask him or her, “How will you know when this goal has been achieved?” You can also ask “how much?” or “how many?” For instance, if your children indicate they wish to begin donating to charity through the BusyKid app, help them make this goal measurable by suggesting a percentage of their earned allowance (which is automatically built in to the BusyKid platform). Then, help them track those donations through the activity history feature on the app and praise their completion.
Make sure the goal is achievable; if a goal seems particularly large and lofty (such as buying a pool table for the game room at home), help your child figure out smaller, short-term goals like committing to weekly games at the pool hall. Also, if he or she tries to set a goal that relies on someone else’s actions, point this out, and guide an alteration of the goal so that your child is the one in control over whether the goal is accomplished or not.
In assessing that the goal is relevant, ask your children if it aligns with their priorities and values. Does it contribute to the life they are trying to create for themselves? For instance, if they decide to begin investing in stocks via the BusyKid app, are they choosing companies that share their values?
Time bound simply indicates the presence of a deadline, but if it’s a particularly long-term goal, it is helpful to set milestones along the way to track progress. Kids tend to live in the present, so goals that are set for a year out or longer may not be as motivating to them. They will likely be more engaged in a challenge to do 12 extra chores within a three-month period to earn more money on the BusyKid app than to do 52 in a year.
Kids and adults alike can be guilty of vague goals and magical thinking; the SMART method provides clarity and focus. It can easily be modified to be developmentally appropriate for your child. For instance, if you have a 7 or 8 year old, it may turn out to be a SRT goal or a MAT goal. You’re still teaching incredibly helpful skills in goal setting, and all the SMART criteria will come in time.
We all know how good and satisfying it feels to set our own goals, feel competent in our work, and achieve successes. BusyKid strives to empower your children to be able to feel this too. By using SMART, you are differentiating between a goal and merely a wish, a lesson which will serve your children well throughout their lives.