As a parent, I think the most frequent thought in my head is “How can I parent my children better?” Some time back, I asked this question of an old friend and got this…
The Monthly Review
Well, that was my term for it and it does sound like something a company makes its employees do (what else would you expect from a former CEO?) but it’s actually a pretty good idea.
How does it work?
At the beginning of every month, we write down three things we want to improve. At the end of the month we review our three goals for the month and decide how well we have achieved them – or not.
We’ve had to make a few changes along the way to make it more effective, like:
- sticking the list up where the boys can see it regularly because they tend to forget what they’re working on…
- we started out with a monthly review but we’re shortening it to a weekly review – again because we forget what we’re working on and the concentrated effort comes only when the “review” is round the corner and we’re suddenly panicking like the night before an exam
- we use five stars to mark how well we achieved the goal – no stars is a complete fail and 5 stars being awesome!
What’s good about it?
Let’s face it, there are a lot of things we would like the kids to improve on – they can be simple, like getting their dirty clothes into the laundry basket so I am not continuously picking up after them, or more challenging, like trying not to rag your brother, or handling our belongings with more care so we don’t accidentally do things like this:
Everyday we play the broken record – don’t to this, please do that… The Monthly Review helps your child focus on just three habits so it’s not too overwhelming. If we give our children too many things to focus on, chances are, none of it will get done. So even if there are lots of areas for improvement, just pick three that you really want your child to work on.
As parents, we should do it, too, so our children learn that self-improvement is a continuous process. Even as adults, we are still working to improve ourselves.
Choosing goals for each other helps us become more aware of the little things we overlook. For instance, when I asked G1 what he would like me to improve on, he replied, “Please spend more time with us on the weekends.” Even though we spend nearly every weekend together, it finally hit me that we may be around each other a lot, but we aren’t really “spending time together”.
You can also let your children choose the goals they want to work towards. This not only offers them autonomy to make their decisions, it also helps them recognise their own areas requiring improvement.