Let's begin with the end in mind
Well, I’m sure that many of you are into either week 1 to week 3 of school right now. Maybe you are teaching, maybe your kids are back to school either remote or in person, or both! Or, maybe you are like me, and are both back to teaching and have children back to school. It’s been a lot to take in and get used to, that’s for sure! My son starts school next week and we had a meet the teacher and practice drop-off and pick-up night last Wednesday. No matter what your current situation, I think we can all agree that things have definitely never been so strange and surreal.
What I noticed, and was really relieved about, was that my son didn’t seem phased by it. He is entering Kindergarten, and so, he really doesn’t know any other way “real school” should be. Yes, he was in preschool when schools shut down, but that still is a different situation than a K-8 building. Besides missing his friends, he really truly took so much in stride, and he has simply accepted his classroom set up and new crate for school supplies and lack of furniture as normal and fine!
It made me realize that as adults, sometimes we do enough worrying for both ourselves AND our children combined! I have spent hours worrying about how he will do and if he would be ok. Honestly, he is resilient and flexible (at least for this….now ask him about wearing shoes other than flip flops, then you will a stubborn, upset five year old!), and he will be ok. We have a new normal but it is up to us to set the tone and mindset for our children so that they can start and remain positive through this year.
We made a short video together about this. Take a look!
As I am starting a new normal, along with my son, I want to make sure that we keep a positive mindset past the first few weeks. I know we are going to face some struggles and I want to have something in place to help center us and keep us on track. I teach my university students that setting goals and having students set goals is one of the most effective ways for them to increase achievement and motivation. But, how does this look for my son and I at home?
Stephen Covey says to begin with the end in mind. If my goal is to emerge from our first semester of teaching and learning during COVID stronger and more positive than when we started, we have a long, but achievable, road ahead. I’m thinking we will set a small goal for ourselves each week to work on and slowly we can work our way up to calling this first half of the year a success.
Our goals can be as simple as:
For both of us: “I will find at least one positive thing about my day to share”
For me: "I will learn a new technology tool and take risks in my delivery to meet my students’ needs.”
Maybe a good one for my son could be to practice coping skills or strategies that will help him deal with worries or stress. Heck, we ALL need that, right?
I found some great resources online and I’ve linked them below. Hopefully, this can get you started on some positive goal setting for yourself and your children.
These are some great printable sheets for a variety of goal setting: https://www.pinterest.com/moritzdesigns/free-goal-setting-printables/
There are more fun kid-friendly ways to set goals https://biglifejournal.com/blogs/blog/5-fun-goal-setting-activities-children
The key is to start small, model how set and keep up with your goals for your child, praise and reinforce progress, and celebrate the wins! If you work on this as a family or as a classroom community, it will be more motivating and there is a better chance of everyone sticking with it. We all need to do this, children and adults, and maybe, just maybe, we can all get to the end of the first semester saying, we did it and we are all okay. I think we can.
Till next time,