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The Maze: This Goal Setting Technique Builds Character in Kids

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If you want your child to have a strong character, teach him how to set goals. Once he sees the path to achieving his goals, he can use this technique throughout his life. Let's find out how this Maze Technique Works.

Bedtime Chats for Setting Goals with the Maze Technique

Consider using bedtime chats to explain how setting a goal is like knowing where you want to end up in a maze. Perhaps your child has completed many mazes in his fun workbooks. He'll know what you mean.

Say, "When we reach a goal, it's like going through a maze and finding a pot of gold. The maze is the path to the goal. When we stand at the start of the maze we can see only the first part of the path to the goal."

How To Focus on the Goal

Suggest he focus on two places: the beginning he can see in front of him and the end that he can only see in his mind. When he can see some of the path's beginning forward and from the goal backward, soon he'll see how to connect the two. Use this maze to show what you mean.

Example for Positive Goal Setting

To build a strong healthy character the goals must be positive and good. They don't have to be easy. First your child must choose a goal to reach. It must be his goal and not yours. But you can suggest goals like the following:


1. Feeling confident giving your book report.
2. Memorizing your multiplication tables.
3. Doing your science project well.

All of these goals build character because they take effort, self-discipline, and focus. Let's say your child chose to feel confident in class while giving his book report. Like a maze he can see the first steps:


1. Choose the book.
2. Read the book.
3. Write the report.

Like the maze he can look backward from the goal:


4. Visualize the talk.
5. Practice the talk.
6. Give the report with confidence.

But how does he connect the two in logical order by filling in steps four and five?

Say, "After you do the work of choosing, reading, and writing, there are two more steps before achieving the goal."

Explain, "You know what you need to do in the beginning and you know you want to feel confident in the end. What can you do about steps four and five? See what steps you can come up with."

How to Connect the Goal Setting Maze

To describe connecting the steps say, "The fourth step might be to see your class enjoying your report." Close your eyes and see the class in your mind, that's called visualizing. Feel your confidence when you visualize the class in front of you. Strengthen that feeling by saying to yourself, "I am confident."

"The fifth step is practice giving your report. You can do this privately in your bedroom. Then practice it in front of the mirror. Pretend your class is on the other side of the mirror. When you're ready, you can practice in front of me."

"Let's write down the steps through the maze to your goal:"


1. Choose the book.
2. Read the book.
3. Write the report.
4. Visualize the talk.
5. Practice the talk.
6. Give the report.

How a Chart Can Help Kids Set and Reach Goals:

One more thing, consider creating a chart to check his progress at your bedtime chats. You can create it yourself with stars or fun times with you to reward and motivate him. Make sure it has a positive goal at the top like:


1. Mom and I discussed my goal tonight.

2. I worked toward my goal today.

3. I visualized my goal clearly, with confident feelings, and said, "I am confident."

Conclusion for Setting Goals and Building Character with the Maze Technique

Teach your child this Maze Technique and he'll have a method for setting goals throughout his life. Teaching him once is not enough. He'll have more goals for you to guide him through. If you do, you'll be promoting his character by helping him focus, make a positive effort, and use self-discipline to achieve his goals. He'll be proud of himself too.

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Jean Tracy invites you to subscribe to her Free Parenting Newsletter and receive 80 fun activities for rewards that won't cost you a penny.

Parents, if you'd like to have a ready-made chart, pick up my Goal-Setting Kit It shows how to set goals in step-by-step detail plus a lot more.

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