My interest in Together Students continues to grow, as evidenced by learnings here, here, and here. So when my Together Leader co-host, Chrystie, popped up early during our last online class and showed me her children’s Learn-From-Home flexy situation, I was ALL EARS. Especially because her kids are the exact same age as mine (second and fifth grades). Chrystie and her husband are taking this whole Together Family to a brand-new level!
On Mondays they complete the Weekly Worksheet, and each morning they complete the Daily Worksheet after breakfast. Ideally, they would complete the reflection after school or before bed and set up their Daily Worksheet for the next day. We’re not there yet – but those are #togetherkidgoals for the future!
Let’s start with a video, shall we?
Chrystie and her husband created Kid Flexies because “The switch from summer to ‘back to school’ mode means a higher level of structure is needed for all of us. While I was updating my own Togetherness Tools to adapt to virtual work, I was trying to think through a relevant mini version that could work for my kids. I also got tired of asking ‘Did you finish your homework?’ and ‘When is your next quiz?’ And I was equally tired of responding to ‘Mom, when is my next game?’ and ‘Mom, when can we go to the library again?’”
Let’s see what’s inside these kids’ “Trapper Keepers!”
Chrystie told me more about how this helps her kiddos: “I realized early on that my kids were great at writing lists of things they both wanted and needed to do, but not the best at getting everything done. We noticed they were most successful when we gave them a time frame to complete tasks. Shifting responsibility to them to first identify what they want/need to do each week, but then watching them think through WHEN they can fit it in their schedule has been an eye-opener. It also makes them slow down and realize they can’t over-commit themselves. They can’t do homework, study, go to soccer, play LEGOs, and hang out with the neighbors all in one day.” Me, neither!
2. A Daily Worksheet with a Reflection
This may be my favorite page! I just love the “Things I Have to Do” and “Things I Want to Do.” I need to make a list like this for myself each day, right?!
I asked Chrystie about the process so far, “We sat down with the boys during their first meeting with themselves, helped them through the prompts and provided feedback. From there we had them work on the daily sheets independently. I’ll most likely change some elements of the worksheets based on what they struggled with. For example, we were missing a step in the daily worksheet to help them transfer the “what I want /need to do” into “when” I will do that thing. There was also some redundancy with their morning checklist and the box “what will I do before school”. We realized that specific part of their day was already so structured that it wasn’t helpful for them to re-write daily routines they had internalized like: eat breakfast, take care of dogs, etc.”
3. A Meeting with Myself! Yes, It’s True! A Kid Version!
I love how this prepares Chrystie’s kids to look ahead on their calendars and plot out their commitments. I asked Chrystie about when the kids do this, “Our goal was initially to do the “Meeting with Myself” Sunday night but sometimes weekend vibes and family time during COVID overrule structure. We ended up using Monday morning to set the stage for the week so we might just go ahead and keep that system. Mondays can be crazy around here, so that extra time to plan and reflect helps create a sense of calm. We also have the kids listen to a podcast for “Meditation Mondays” which helps them focus and get in ‘school mode.’”
I asked Chrystie how this was helping her, and I loved her reply:
“We don’t have to say no to something they want to do. They are slowly understanding that time is a limited commodity, and they can’t do everything. I like that I don’t have to micromanage their schedules, and it’s one less thing for me to worry about. We’re just getting started with the Kid Flexy, but I’m hopeful some of these skills will carry on into adulthood!”