What is goal-directed behaviour in child development?
It’s our job to ensure our children navigate their way easily towards the desired outcome without any goal-directed resentment.
Be it at home, at school or in social situations, we want our kids to learn how to behave in positive, effective ways.
The best way to do that is to set them attractive goals. Here are three tips that you can follow to ensure the right goal-directed behaviour in child development.
Goal-directed behaviour in practice
It’s about rewards; rewards kids can relate to and aspire to, but – and here’s the key – there’s not an ice cream or chocolates in sight.
Why? Because the healthiest and most effective goal-directed behaviour isn’t about short-term rewards – bribes if you like – it’s about goals; good goals kids find appealing and want to work towards.
Kids love to succeed at something
Whether it’s at school or at home, kids love the feeling of getting ‘there’; of having a goal – be it getting a basketball through a hoop or getting from B to A in school maths.
They love getting there, but most kids don’t know the path; they don’t know HOW to get there. They either CAN or they CAN’T.
Our job is to show them how they can.
Want to find out more about how you can support the holistic development of children in Early Childhood Education? Find out in our previous blog post.
Define the goal and show them the way
And that’s not your goal, it’s theirs. It has to be theirs or they won’t bother. So before you define any paths, define the goal. Sit them down and ask them if they like the sound of the end result – be it a nice grade, school award or gold star on their report.
By all means give your kids some pocket money if they mow the lawns or clean the windows. That’s accepted goal-directed behaviour for such tasks. But you don’t pay your kids to be good or to do better in class.
Goal-directed behaviour can’t be that lazy or mercenary; it has to be cleverer than that. In other words, it has to encourage further good behaviour, albeit with some form of reward – an end goal.
Any form of personal enhancement of well being or school status is a healthy end goal. So be very clear about the goal and the path they need to take to get there.
“If you knuckle down and pass history, you’ll make mum and dad very happy,” is NOT a good goal from a kid’s perspective. “If you knuckle down and pass history, you can choose your own subjects next year,” is.