20140727_174506802_iOSThe school year is in full swing and I feel like my routine has a nice hum to it. Life feels manageable, again. It feels good, steady, and on track.

But not for long. I see the look. The shoulders slump over. Not a lot of eye contact. Feet are dragging across the floor and shoes are suddenly lost. A familiar feeling emerges. Then I hear:

“Can I skip today?”
“I don’t feel like it.”
“Do I have to?”
“I don’t want to go, it’s not fun, anymore.”

I sigh. I have a routine. I have made plans, and now, my kid wants it all to change – permanently. I wonder if it is a good idea? Should I make her go? Should I let him take the day off? Should, should, should…

What would you do? It’s been two weeks now and the full court press is on.

As a mom of two student athletes, a coach and a taekwondo instructor, I came up with a method that can help get us and our children back on track.

5 Steps to Get Their Head Back in the Game

  1.  Ask questions and listen. Find out the reason behind the reason for wanting to quit. Remember we all want to experience a certain feeling when we do an activity or have a goal. What feeling is your child after? Is it laughter, companionship, coolness, accomplishment, the doing it, etc.? What is missing from that activity now?
  2. Once you find out the reason behind the reason, take their temperature. On a piece of paper, make two columns. On one side list the positives for staying. On the other side list the negatives. By the end of steps 1 and 2, you should have a pretty accurate picture of what is driving your child and what his or her needs are. Remember to list the long term consequences (positive and negative) for quitting, as well.
  3. List possible solutions on a clean sheet of paper. This paper should be full of as many options as possible. Ask what is possible? What else is possible? etc… We tend to narrow a choice down to either a yes or a no. By expanding the possibilities, you actually open your child up. Once you open your child up, he or she is more open to trying. The goal of this exercise is to help your child to feel good about the choices that are available.
  4. Remember the reason behind the reason, and then, write the prescription. You and your child are ready to come up with a solution to try. The solution should satisfy the “smile” the child is after, while at the same time, address what you, as a parent, think is important.
  5. Implement the solution and test it. The only way you to know whether your solution is right is to test it. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Keep trying solutions until you hit upon the right remedy that gives the child his or her goal and satisfies you.

When you and I take those negative feelings and shift them to positive ones, we feel differently about our choices, and when that happens, we are in the right frame of mind to make the best decisions for ourselves and others.

Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions. Happy Tuesday!

Until next time, get’em back in the mood!