It is up to you when coaching your children reading, writing, and Mathematics, and you may be the weakest link.
It is vitally important to coach your child in reading, writing, or Mathematics skills when they struggle at school. Yet important appointments, extra work, tiredness, personal difficulties, or unexpected visitors can easily take away the time you set aside to coach your child those necessary reading, writing, or Mathematics skills.
First things First: Steven Covey tells this story in his book ‘First things first’ (1994) of a professor playing with stones, sand and water and a jar. He first placed all of the sand and small stones in a jar then tried to place the larger stones in. However the sand and smaller stones had taken up all the room inside the jar and there was no room for the larger stones. He then began again using the same amount of stones and sand, but he placed the large stones in the jar first, then trickled in all the smaller stones, then the sand, and then tipped lots of water on top as well. His message was quite simple. You will always find time for the urgent tasks, but if you don’t fit in the ‘not urgent but important tasks’ first – you won’t fit them in at all.
Steven’s lesson is easy to understand but often hard to apply.You know that if you help your child master reading, writing, or Mathematics skills that they will find schoolwork and homework easier and more fun. However it is a big step between wanting to help your child understand how to read, write, or do Mathematics, and organising regular reading, writing, or Mathematics coaching times. I hope the following ideas help you.
Believe that regular reading, writing, or Mathematics coaching can be EASY, then systematically adjust your environment and your thoughts so that it is.
1. Find your limiting factor(s). What stops you regularly coaching reading, writing, or Mathematics skills to your child? What factor once changed will make the reading, writing, or Mathematics coaching fall into place? Is it a skill, an attitude, a habit you don’t yet have? Think about this until you are clear what your limiting factors are and then look for the possible solutions.
2. Design your plan to overcome your limiting factor(s) and schedule time for coaching reading, writing, or Mathematics into your diary or onto your calendar. Write your schedule down somewhere you will SEE it often. Inertia is the single greatest barrier to successful reading, writing, or Mathematics coaching. It’s also the easiest to overcome. All you have to do is act.
“Any action you take – no matter how trivial, will do the trick”
(p. 46) Keith Ellis (The magic lamp: Goal setting for people who hate setting goals).
- Think small and focus on a single step when beginning reading, writing, or Mathematics skills coaching with your child. Make the steps you are taking small then there is less reason to resist.
- Set reading, writing, or Mathematics deadlines so you fix your goals for your child in time. This makes them become real and creates a sense of urgency and helps you schedule regular time for reading, writing, and Mathematics.
- Learn to expect the discomfort of change when you coach your child reading, writing, or Mathematics skills. Mild discomforts accompany change.
- Pace yourself to reach your reading, writing, or Mathematics goals.
- Know what comes next so that when you have nearly reached your reading, writing, or Mathematics goals, you can see the next challenge in the distance.
- Reading, writing, or Mathematics goals are flexible so adapt to change as you change your perspectives.
Find the joy in self-discipline. Imagine yourself enjoying every step you take. Instead of thinking, “How do I get myself to coach my child reading, writing, or Mathematics skills?” Ask yourself, “How can I get myself to enjoy coaching?”
“Even ordinary effort over time yields extraordinary results” (p. 74) Keith Ellis (The magic lamp: Goal setting for people who hate setting goals). I encourage you to keep coaching even when it is difficult. Continue coaching your child reading, writing, or Mathematics skills even when you are too tired, too busy, or too worried. I believe that you will both get to deeply enjoy the coaching time and that you will both be amazed at the excellent results you achieve.
I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page.
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