Using Summer to Develop Self-Management in our Kids

Posted by Jeff Schadt on 2018-05-28

Using Summer to Develop Self-Management in our Kids

Posted by Jeff Schadt on 2018-05-28

Using Summer to Develop Self-Management in our Kids

Summer presents an amazing opportunity to move our kids towards self -management.  In my time working on a college campus and from the research I conducted concerning the college transition, it was clear that students were not prepared for the stress, change and responsibility of managing their own lives when they left home.

This outcome stems from an underlying shift in the priority of parents. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s the predominant goal of parents was to raise self-reliant kids, which was

Our Kids are less prepared for Life on their own

vital. This is the reason I believe self-management is one of the most important skills for our kids to develop. Self-managing kids have more confidence, resilience and ability to handle adversity as they move towards and into adulthood. I am convinced that today more than ever we need to stop focusing on raising children and start focusing on raising the days of exploration, wilderness and family farms. Today the priority has become protecting our kids, which has led to adults managing more and more of their kids’ lives, success and decisions.  As a result, kids are less prepared for life on their own and many are relying on their parents into and throughout college leading to the growing reality of delayed adolescence in our society.

Self-Management and Summer

In the last blog in the series regarding our kids and summer I raised a number of questions that we discuss with our kids as we plan for summer, including the types of meals they

A vast Majority of Kids rise to real responsibility and shrink from parents expectations

would like to experiment with, their sleep schedule, how much time they believe they should spend on media and the types of activities or trips they would like to do as a family.  In each of these areas there are self management lessons to be learned when the consequence of failure is not nearly as high as it is during the school year.

Self management means kids take on responsibility for a meal, planning an activity or trip, their sleep and/or media consumption. While this may seem unrealistic for your kid, I have found that a vast majority of the time kids rise to real responsibility and often shrink from parents’ expectations. In fact our goal is to have our kids managing their own lives including finances, sleep, social media and school by their sophomore year of high school in order to make the transition to their first jobs and college far easier. We have seen this work amazingly with our first two kids.

If you undertake the planning process with your kids that was described in the second blog in this series, here are some ideas of how to use that plan to begin developing self management skills.

The way self-management is approached is vital. If approached as an expectation or duty, kids will see it in this light and likely resist. If however they are approached in the light of this being new found freedom because of a new approach to parenting that you are adopting, their response will be far more favorable. To understand how to approach kids in this vein review Revive Family’s free webinar and consider taking our Influential Parenting class online.

As you venture into self-management with your kids it is vital to communicate and expect several things if your kids are to truly engage:

  1.    Communicate that you will not be correcting, coming down on them or pushing them to perform.  That these things are truly in their hands and that their follow through will lead to a vital sense of personal achievement and accomplishment.
  2.    Expect failure and prepare to encourage your kids in the face of it.  I have found that most kids get down on themselves when they fail and this can lead to motivation issues.
  3.    Let them know you will be there to answer questions and help them succeed with their summer objectives if they seek you out.
  4.    Ask them for permission to ask how they are doing with their specific goals every once in a while to serve as a reminder.
  5.    Seek to find them doing things right and ask them how they feel about themselves when they do make a good decision with their time.  This will help them see the intrinsic reward and value of follow through.
  6.    Let’s say your kid sets a sleep schedule and gaming schedule that allows for him to work on projects, and plan trips and activities, but he is having a hard time following through.  Help him understand by asking questions about how he feels. Help him see that he feels better about himself and has more confidence when he takes responsibility and follows through. Help him see if he takes the reins of his summer and makes the most of it, he will feel better about himself and set himself up to do better in the next school year.  He will have confidence in his ability to succeed no matter what he decides to do in their future.
  7.    You may also consider setting a long-term reward for improvement and achievement with their goals.  Short-term rewards often backfire over time because kids will begin to seek rewards to do just about everything.  Strategically used long-term rewards of significance can help add fuel to the self-management flames that move kids towards responsibility and success.

In the end you will help your kids see that their follow through, planning and coming to you with proposed dates and times for the activities they desire to do only makes their summer better.  They will see that if they choose to sleep, invest in YouTube or game their days away, they will miss out on the very things they wanted to do.,

Moving our kids towards self-management requires patience and compassion when they fail.  In this vein you will witness real learning, responsibility development and more rapidly advancing maturity and life skills in your kids that will help them achieve their goals in life.

So make the most out of this summer.  Give your kids some vital elements of self-management and significant opportunities for taking responsibility that will motivate them. Then be there to support them as they learn, fail, grow and discover the real joy of following through.   Helping them apply themselves to real responsibility presents them with intrinsic rewards found in how they view themselves and their confidence regarding their ability to succeed in their own future!

Are you reading this and would like to discover a way to connect with your kids even more? Please visit our website to watch over free informational webinar to help you achieve that connection.

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