What ever happened to playing outside until the streetlights came on? Now, the only lights most of our kids are exposed to is the blue light emanating from the screens of their digital devices.
Only time will tell the full effect of abundant screen time on the physical and mental health of our population, in the meantime, it makes sense to apply some creativity to the problem.
One viable solution is leveraging what we know about productivity and teaching our kids how to pursue a life they can love today and in their future.
It starts with these 6 steps that will make your kids productive.
Identify Their Values
A value is something you wish to gain or keep.
For example, health, career, financial abundance all classify as values but for kids we want to keep it simple.
“What do you love?”
When your kids are happiest they are likely pursuing a value and when they are least happy, it’s the opposite.
This test can be used to uncover a handful of desires that will give your kids some self-directed motivation.
Set A Goal
Are you finding it irritating to be constantly reminding your kids of what they need to be doing?
What if their day-to-day to-dos were tied to something they had a hand in choosing?
Cutting the lawn or applying for work become far more interesting when some of the funds they receive are necessary to pay for a portion of “insert their value-based goal here.”
Now that your child has identified some of their values and selected a goal they care about, the next step is getting the work done!
Don’t expect them to figure this step out on their own, set up some guardrails.
Start by allocating their Personal Time.
This is time they are free to do as they choose, within the guidelines of your family rules and values of course!
Next, block off time for school, learning and activity or what we call Work Time.
Lastly, where the real magic happens is during Prep Time.
These are blocked time periods for your child to complete the to-do’s mapped out in order to accomplish their goal(s).
Assess & Audit
Each week, set aside 15-30 minutes at the end of the last Prep period to review what has been completed, the wins & challenges and what’s in store for the upcoming week.
Not only will it be a “feel good” celebration but it will also clear their mind heading into the weekend and act as a natural reset for the week ahead.
It’s natural to set up rewards for outcomes, but that can be a trap with negative consequences down the line.
Since doing the work is what leads to the outcomes, it’s more beneficial to apply any rewards to seeing the behaviors through on a repeated basis.
It’s important to note, the expected behaviors need to be applied to the ability of each child.
A 4 year-old can’t be expected to work on a single project for a full morning, but a 15 year old surely can!
Every 90-days, take some extra time (in addition to the weekly review) to step back and look at the big picture.
Have any values changed or become even clearer?
What targets have been met and which are still pending?
Is there a new exciting goal that has inspired your child?
Getting some perspective every three months or even less in younger kids can help to ensure your child doesn’t endlessly work towards something they’re no longer interested in and keeps them engaged in the process.
Could you imagine applying these 6 steps consistently with your kids?
What would it be like for you today, had this been a part of your life as a child?