|Part of being proactive is stopping to think before we act. Sometimes, we react to a situation immediately, without taking time to think about the results of our actions.||Role-play different situations with your child that will provide them the opportunity to think before they act.|
Begin With the End in Mind
|Having an end in mind helps your child be able to have a purpose for their goal and for the specific steps that will help them achieve it.||As a family (or with an individual child), choose an area that needs improvement. The area of improvement, or the broad goal, becomes your end in mind. Then think of specific steps that will lead to achieving this goal.|
|Putting First Things First means to decide what is most important and to take care of that first. Thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow or by the end of the week can be overwhelming, especially for children. Learning to think of which things are the most important and taking care of them first allows children (and adults) to be less stressed.||A planner is a great organizational tool to write down and plan ahead for what is most important. Help your child find and use a simple planner. This could be one you buy at the store or a simple notebook that your child decorates.|
|Thinking Win-Win is the belief that everyone can win. It’s not you or me—it’s both of us. By working with your child to come up with a solution, will help you both be happier in the situation and work through the conflict better each time.||Think of an ongoing conflict you tend to have with your child (homework, cleaning his or her room, feeding the dog) and then discuss a win-win solution to the conflict. Write down the solution and then remind each other of it the next time the situation arises.|
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
|Seeking First to Understand, Then to Be Understood means that it is better to listen first and talk second. This habit is taught best by introducing listening as a skill that should be practiced.||You can teach listening skills to your children by modeling effective listening. With an older child, you can talk to him or her about an issue you always argue about and say, “Help me understand your point of view.” Then really listen without interruptions. When your child is finished, repeat in your own words what you heard until he or she acknowledges feeling understood. Then it’s your turn to speak and your child’s turn to listen.|
|Synergy is when two or more people work together to create a better solution than either would have thought of alone. Use this activity to see if you can reach a better solution than either of you would have come up with alone.||With your children, choose a problem you may have (dividing family responsibilities, keeping track of homework completion, following curfew) and use the Synergy Action Plan to summarize your child’s solution and your solution:|
- Define the problem.
- Share your views.
- Think of solutions.
- Choose the best solution together.
|Sharpening the Saw is about having balance in all areas of your life. Talk with your child about areas of his or her life that might be out of balance and find ways to put more focus on that area.||For younger children, you could develop a “Sharpen the Saw” activity center in your home that includes arts and crafts supplies, puzzles, classical music and books.|
For teens, you can encourage them to journal, take a break from technology, or start a new hobby.
Physical activity is also an important part of finding balance. Find something fun and active you and your children can do together such as riding bikes, going on a hike or participating in a sport.