Do we mean that he followed all the rules? Or that she got all her work done?
What, specifically, does a “good day” look like from our child’s perspective?
A Question Worth Asking
We want our kids to grow into self determined adults. A first step on this path is for them to notice what they need and want. And a good place for them to start is by looking at their current daily routine.
What simple things make a day “good” for them? How can they plan their day to include these things?
Yes Virginia, Self Determination Takes Practice
The Virginia Department of Education takes self-determination seriously. Their IMDetermined.org website has great resources for parents, teachers and students.
One simple tool presented on the site is the Good Day Plan.
Click here to find a template for the Good Day Plan, along with short videos of elementary and secondary students sharing their own plan. You’ll hear kids talk about how simple things make a big difference in their day. And you’ll see how they plan their day to include these things.
One girl notices that playing with her puppy before school helps her have a good day. Her whole morning routine is more pleasant now that she and her family have planned a way to include puppy time. A young man’s daily routine is much improved now that his math period is changed to late morning when he is more awake. He now starts his day with a friendly support study hall teacher so he can organize himself for the rest of the day.
As parents, we may think we already know what our kids want and need. But we may be surprised. And our kids find power in the process of thinking through their day and identifying elements that matter to them.
Give it a Try
You may want to start by making a Good Day Plan for yourself. You may find that a few small changes to your own daily routine make a big difference in your days.
And sharing our own Good Day Plan with our kids can be very meaningful. It can help us to be real with our kids, and can help them see that a Good Day Plan may be worthwhile for them. Remember, we’re role models for our kids. They’ll see value in practices that we find important enough to do ourselves.
Life is busy. Sometimes it’s a challenge to notice the small things that make a big difference. Being aware of these important little things takes some practice.
Every once in a while, I watch a lovely little video called “A Good Day”. It helps me remember to notice what is good and beautiful in each day. Click here if you’d like to watch it yourself.
What Do You Think?
If you and your child decide to make a Good Day Plan, we’d love to learn from your experience. Please share your thoughts with us in the Comments.
May you truly enjoy your day!
Photo Credit: Xtheowl at Flickr