The Jones family PCS’d over the summer and to help their three children settle in to their new location they signed them each up for their favorite activity. Mom also signed up for carpool, team snack mom, and a running club, and Dad is busy with work. With everyone so busy all the time, they are starting to feel like they never spend any time together as a family and they miss that. So they decide they want to set a goal of spending more time together as a family, but they are not sure how to start making that happen..

Times of major change, such as moving, starting school, and deployment are often good opportunities to set family goals because change often prompts us to look at things in a new way and see things that we may wish were different. Most parents are familiar with the idea of goal setting and may be adept at setting and accomplishing goals in their own lives. However, for many of us, the idea of teaching our kids how to set goals may seem tricky, because while kids often know what they want they don’t always know how to get there. Here at FOCUS we believe goal setting, the ability to make a plan to accomplish something you want, is an important skill for families to have. To help break down the idea of goal setting for kids, we have created a goal setting method called SCORE.

S – Say it simply. Say it simply. The first step when setting a goal is to break it down so you say specifically what you want to accomplish, and say it simply enough to fit into one sentence. Kids often have really big, complex goals like “being good” or “becoming a famous athlete.” So take some time to show your child how to break those big, complex goals down into something simple and then they can plan several simple goals to help them achieve their larger goal.

 Say it simply: To have a family dinner one night a week.




C – Choose your steps. Once you have created your goal you can break it down into smaller steps, this will make it easier to complete.


 Choose your steps:
  1. Write all the family activities on the calendar
  2. Choose a night each week that everyone is free and color it in on the calendar
  3. Assign each family member a week in which they get to pick what to eat for dinner and a game the whole family can play together afterwards
  4. Go grocery shopping the day before to get the necessary ingredients for dinner
  5. The morning of family dinner check to make sure the game for that night has all the necessary pieces
  6. Enjoy family night



O – Organize your time. Once you have listed out all the steps for your goal, it is important to assign a date or time frame for each step to make sure they actually get done.


 Organize your time:We will do steps 1-3 on Monday after Dad gets home from work. Steps 4 and 5 we will assign days to once we figure out which night will be family night.


R – Rate your goal. The final step in creating a goal is to rate it and make sure it is do-able. At FOCUS we like to use the Feeling Thermometer* to help us measure whether our goal is do-able. When we think about our goal we want the feelings connected to it to be comfortable green feelings. If when we think about our goal we feel really uncomfortable red-type feelings that may mean our goal is too complicated and we need to go back to step one and make it simpler.


 Rate your goal:We all feel really excited about our family goal and once we listed out all the steps we saw that it wouldn’t be too hard for us to do. We are definitely in the green about our goal.


E – Excellent job! Your family has now created a new goal, so go out and do it.

* For more information on the Feeling Thermometer, please contact your local FOCUS site or check out FOCUS World, our online resiliency-training site.

* You can download the SCORE handouts: SCORE Handout and SCORE Worksheet