Every parent wants their child to have the best in life, with as much happiness, success, and resilience as possible. There are certain habits which are highly correlated with success in most areas of life, and those include habits surrounding productivity, habit-management itself, and goal setting.

While kids are kids, and you don’t want to put your child through a rigorous and joyless youth, filled with nothing but boot camp style training on how to be more efficient, there are a few straightforward and relatively unobtrusive ways of helping your child to get into productive goal-setting at an early age.

Here are a few suggestions.

Take advantage of the various tools and services available online

The internet has brought with it many tools and services designed to help adults better manage their lives, finances, and all the rest. The same thing has begun to happen recently with regards to children, with various online services being developed for the sake of helping kids develop good habits at an early age.

Goalsetter is perhaps the best savings and gifting platform for kids, as it involves having kids set certain life “goals” and then helps them to save towards those goals — while also making it easy for the grownups in their lives to contribute and oversee things completely.

A service of this type can have a range of highly positive effects on a child, beginning with the fact that the child is encouraged to practice deferred gratification, and develop a sense of desirable and practical goals for the near to mid-term.

Encourage them to use goals as reference points, but focus on systems in the short term

Many people — never mind just children — have a fairly unhealthy attitude when it comes to goal setting. They break their entire lives down into different compartmentalized goals, sub-goals, and targets, and obsess constantly about whether they are meeting their goals or not.

The issue here is that this leads to an entirely external focus, and disempowers the individual if external circumstances aren’t obliging. You may have a goal to make a certain amount of money in a year — but there are all kinds of forces in the outside world that need to align in your favor to make that happen.

Goals are very useful as reference points, but it’s an excellent idea to focus on systems in the short term. Encourage your child to set goals, but not obsess over daily targets. Rather, get them to ensure that they’re acting the right way on a daily basis to increase the likelihood of success.

Help them to focus on “character goals” more than “material goals”

We all have far more control over the kinds of people we’re going to be, than over the kinds of material goods and wealth we can expect to experience.

Material goals certainly have their place, but you should encourage your child first and foremost to focus on “character goals”. In other words, get them to ask the question “what kind of person do I want to be?” and then help them to put in the work required to develop those character traits.

All said and done, goal setting can be a valuable skill for anyone and can lead to lifelong success. Do you set goals for your own life? Have you talked to your children about how to work towards a goal?