Updated: Aug 11
Okay, enough theory and mindset stuff. Let’s take some action to get your child ready to start school strong!
Remember from my last articles (you can see them on the blog on our website) we were going to take a three-step path:
1. Your energy and emotional STATE
2. What you FOCUS on
3. Your STRATEGY and action plan
Your child cannot help but follow you in all three.
First, it is important to do a quick refresher on your why. Your “why” has to be strong or you will not do this. Why do this to get ready for school? Remember, there are three things that determine your destiny in life; whether you thrive or struggle - Luck, Choices and Habits. Luck is this pandemic, the economic shutdown and online school. You cannot control these. But what you can control are the other two. Right now, you have the opportunity to develop your child’s skills to make good choices and to develop habits that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Can you imagine a child who gets themselves up, gets ready, then is excited and energized to start their online or in-class school day? Can you imagine later when they know exactly what they want to do after high school and apply by themselves to a college or trade school? Can you imagine your grown child not just working for a company but owning it? These are all possible when they learn to make decisive choices and develop intentional habits. (By the way, for parents of preschoolers, it is never too early to start working on these with your child. Start now and when they get to kindergarten you just might be pleasantly surprised!)
Whether you like it or not, online schooling at home is at least going to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Might as well get really good at it?
With the “why” now fresh in our minds, let’s get down to the four simple steps you can take starting now then reinforce over the next 2-3 weeks before school starts. These are the steps to changing a behavior or starting a new habit:
1. Make it Obvious –
2. Make it Attractive –
3. Make it Easy –
4. Make it Satisfying –
We will start with the first two today. I will give you the third on Thursday, then the last one early next week. We will help you every step of the way. You will be ready for that starting line!
Make it Obvious – It is said, people don’t lack motivation, they lack clarity. Being clear and exact in what you are going to do and why is the key. For instance, if you say “Oh, I will try to lose 15 pounds.” You will probably fail. But if instead you write down something like – “Starting on August 3rd, every single day I am going to put my running shoes on right after I wake up at 6:30. It does not matter how far I run because the most important part is just showing up and starting each day. I may miss a day, but I will never miss a second day, ever! My goal is to do my first marathon with my family watching and cheering me on, by the end of the year!”
*Action Step #1: Clarity – As a family, sit down and write down exactly what you are doing to do and why. Then post it where everyone can see it every day. It might be something like: “Our family is strong, driven, high achieving and happy. That is just the way we do it here. Together we are taking this pandemic by the horns. We see the opportunities to make this our best school year ever. On August 19th, we will hit that first day of school at a full sprint by preparing over the next two weeks. We will get up at 6:30, energetically complete our AM Routine then practice just the start of our “school day” so we have it down cold for the 19th. We might slip up a little on a day, but we will never miss a second day, ever!” Read this as a family daily. Later we will create a new powerful statement once school starts. Right now, we are just practicing for the “starting line”!
Make it Attractive – You probably already know this, but we tend to do things that bring us pleasure and avoid things that bring us pain or discomfort. We are going to take advantage of this to make our odds of success greater. Here are the next two simple steps:
*Action Step #2: Environment/Culture – This can also be called “reducing the friction”. You want to optimize the environment and culture where you are going to hold your online schooling. If possible, you want a dedicated space in your home to be your “classroom”. Much like if you had to work from home. If you just plop down at the dining room table, in your bedroom or living room, with all the distraction and where you are already accustomed to doing other things (like playing or being on video games) it will be hard to focus and work well. The same is true for your child. You may not have the luxury of a completely separate room but do your best to create a dedicated space. Make it look and feel like a classroom your child would love. Optimize the technology. Make it “their” classroom. This is where you get to go Back-to-School shopping with your child! For culture, just establish a clear, strong “feeling” for the space – “We are creating success here. When we are in this room we are learning and growing academically, emotionally and physically!”
*Action Step #3: AM Routine – For right now, just focus on the most important part of any day – the START. You are going to begin to develop a consistent morning routine. First you are going to wake up at the same time every morning (even better if you can do this on the weekends too). The key is to keep it simple and have at least one task your child enjoys included. For example, let’s say your child loves reading, or the feeling of achievement when they do push-ups:
- Get myself up at 6:30 and turn off my alarm clock (I will never hit the snooze button, ever!)
- Wake up with a big smile on my face, clap my hands, say “yes” really loud and get out of bed right away
- Make my bed
- I get to do 10 Jumping Jack then hit the deck and do 10 Push-Ups
- Brush my teeth, shower, get in my school clothes
- I get to read or listen to music for 20 minutes before breakfast
- My “school day” starts at 9:00 sharp. For now, just get to my “classroom” and do something I like doing for 20 minutes.
Don’t do any more then this for now. Every single highly successful person has one habit in common - a very strict morning routine!
That’s it. Just practice the start. Just learn to show up because 90% of life and success is “just showing up”. Just learn to show up!
Stay tuned for the last two steps. Then pin your ears back for the starting line! Embrace the change. Stay strong.