- Create an accountability plan
Explain to your child that “accountability” is simply a way to help him stay on track. Be supportive without judgment, blame or scolding. Your child can check in daily to give you an account of what he agreed to do.
- Sit down with your child and work out a list of daily and weekly action steps to be followed to reach specific goals.
- Be reasonable and set goals that are attainable and clear.
- Stick to the plan and help your child stick with the target goals.
- Start with small, specific goals such as “I will complete my homework by 7 PM on weeknights” or “I will review my school planner with mom or dad every day at 5 PM.”
- Provide reasonable rewards for progress.
- Each week, get together and review: What were the results? What worked, and what didn’t work? What would they do differently next time? How might you, the parent, help out?
- Get Organized Together
Most children learn by example and repetition. When you model basic organizational skills for your children, they are better able to see the benefits of getting organized, even if they need help doing so. Share your organizational strategies and helpful hints with your child. Talk about, and demonstrate, how you get your “stuff” organized at home or at work and encourage ideas from your child. Don’t ever force your child to organize your way. Not all systems work for every individual. When you are struggling with organizational issues, ask for help. Maybe you have a “super” organized friend or family member. If not, look for professional organizers through www.challengingdisorganization.org or www.napo.net.
- Give Positive, Specific Feedback
We all appreciate positive, specific feedback. So do our kids. There is always something positive to say about, and to, your children. Even on tough days. Acknowledge accomplishments, large and small, encouraging your child to keep up the great effort. My students enjoy coming to coaching in large part for the proverbial “pat on the back” and the positive reinforcement. For example, “Wow! You finished half of your math problems! Great progress.” or “Did you notice how focused you were during practice today? I know that takes a lot of effort!” Goals are reached in steps/stages. Each step deserves positive recognition. Reward effort and progress to promote a positive attitude. This is the key to success. It builds skills, self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Just Breathe
Have you ever noticed that your stress level decreases when you take a deep breath? How about two or three? Repeat until you feel your shoulders coming down from your ears and you are able to focus on your child and his needs. Take time to care for yourself before getting involved in homework or those last minute projects. And, whenever possible, ask your child to take a few deep breaths, too. It works!