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3 Things to Help Your Kids Turn Dreams into Reality


If you have kids, you’re probably very familiar with the phrase “I want.” If you have children in your life at all, you’ve heard them dream out loud many times about how desperately they need something. While it’s perfectly natural to have those feelings, not many kids know how to turn those dreams into reality, besides asking mom and day for money of course.

The next time you hear the phrase “I want” from your child, resist the urge to list off everything you just bought and why they can’t possibly need anything else. Stop yourself from flat-out saying “no” and ask instead how they plan to get it.

If their only answer is that you, dearest family member, should cough up the funds, try talking about wants and needs. Parents are responsible for a child’s basic needs. At some point, however, kids become responsible for taking care of at least some of their wants.

Teaching kids about money and things they can do to turn those wants or dreams into reality are extremely valuable life lessons.

If you’re not sure how you can help them make those dreams happen, then you’re in the right place. There are three specific things you can do to help your kids (and yourself) turn dreams into reality.

Why Are Dreams and Goals So Important?

Dreams and goals are important because they help us focus our energy on creating what we want. And they have the potential to motivate us to take action.

While some might argue that dreams are different from goals because you can sit and dream for hours without doing anything, I would contend that both provide the potential to move us in the direction we want to go.

Goals can take us in many directions, including faraway places, relationships, wants, and desires. The topics and directions are endless.

Our focus here is on goals related to creating the future—what our kids want it to look like, what they want to see, what they want to become, and how they might get there.

Goals Need Plans

One of the traps we all fall into, but particualrly kids without much life experience, is that of creating big goals without any realistic means of achieving them. That is, again, besides a family member paying for everything.

GWOP is an acronym for “goals without plans.” GWOPs are useless. We can dream and create as many goals as we like, but without a plan to achieve them, they don’t motivate nor are they of much value.

We can’t let our kids (or ourselves) create GWOPs. It’s a a waste of time and energy. So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure they have a plan for turning their dreams into reality.

More to Explore: Life Skills

3 Things You Can Do to Turn Dreams into Reality

1. Listen to your kids and talk about what they want.

listen to your kids and talk about what they want

Make it a safe environment—listen, don’t judge, and ask questions. If your kids are young, write down what they want. Then put it in a place they will see it every day. If your kids are older, have them write down what they want and put it in a place they’ll look at it often.

2. Help your kids think about what it takes to turn their dreams into reality.

spend quality Time with your child -cook as a family

For younger kids, help them write down three things they will do to make sure they can get what they want, whether they need to buy it or do something else to get it. If they receive an allowance, a talk about budgeting may be needed.

Preteens and teens are more than capable of putting their thoughts into action. If your preteen or teen asks you to help solve a problem, don’t solve it for them. Be a coach or mentor. This article can help with how to do that: The Role of Parents – 3 Overlapping Parts.

3. Help keep their dreams alive by asking your kids how they are doing.

spend quality Time with your child -cook as a family

 A great way to do this for young kids is to help them set deadlines for doing what they need to do and help them keep track of when they meet these deadlines.

Can Dreams Turn into Reality?

Engage your children in a discussion and create a plan together.

When you engage with your child or teen and discuss the situation at hand, you can help them turn their dream into reality using the three-step process above.

If their dream is something that costs money, talk with your child about the cost of things. You can start this discussion with a young child when they see something they want in the store. If you’re not sure how to handle that conversation, see our Teaching Kids about Money post to learn how.

Then talk about different ways your child might get the money. Maybe they help with extra things around the house or save up birthday money they receive from a grandparent. For an older child, this would be a great time to talk about different summer job opportunities in your community if they aren’t working yet.

When your kids or the family want something that you haven’t budgeted for, that’s an opportunity to schedule your next family meeting and sit down together to come up with a plan about what can be done to achieve that goal and put that plan into practice.

If your kids want something, don’t just say no or tell them to get a job. Go through this process to make sure they know how to achieve their dreams. You might have to remind them that sometimes you need to sacrifice in the short-term to achieve a bigger goal.

It all starts by talking with your children or engaging with them. When you have ongoing engagement and discussions about what it takes to turn their dreams into reality, you’ll ensure your kids learn the skills they need to be successful in life. 

We recently went over examples of these concepts and specific ways you can create a visual of your plan to help your kids moving toward their goal in our monthly membership. If you would like to learn more and make sure you don’t miss out on vital extra support like this, make sure to check out our membership page.

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Rick Stephens

Rick Stephens is a co-founder of Raising Families. With 33 years of experience as a top-level executive at The Boeing Company and having raised four children of his own, he is able to support parents and grandparents by incorporating his knowledge of business, leadership, and complex systems into the family setting.

In his free time Rick enjoys road biking, scuba diving, visiting his grandkids, and generally trying to figure out which time zone he’s in this week. Read full bio >>