The summer holiday personal development plan: Questions that will help them reflect and develop awareness
DUBAI: The questions that you can prepare for your children which they can attempt to answer are a useful way of engaing them in their evolving relationship with school and personal development.
Here are some questions you ask them to answer:
On their own role at school
■ What is something you did well this year? What are you most proud of yourself for?
■ What brought you joy?
■ What was your biggest struggle?
■ Do you think there are things you could do next year to make this better?
■ What have you learnt about yourself?
■ How do you think you do at reaching out to other people?
■ If your peers were honest, would they describe you as a person who is nice to everyone?
■ What is your best quality as a friend?
■ Do you think you were respectful to your teachers?
■ Do you think your teachers thought you were respectful?
■ How can you improve the way you interact with your teachers?
Extra credit: Have them write a note to their teacher. It’s hard to overstate how much teachers enjoy thoughtful notes of appreciation.
About the coming year
What could you do next year to make more progress towards these goals?
If you were only graded on your attitude, what would that grade be?
The summer break is also a great time for parents to reflect, as well. Remember that parents fall short not because they are defective but because of the magnitude of what they are trying to do. Consider sharing some of your reflections with your child, or ask your child to evaluate you in some areas. That is always humbling but enlightening.
Here are a few starter questions for parents:
■ What did I do for my child this year that she could do for herself?
■ Are there ways I can help my child learn to solve his own problems? Was there a time I intervened where I could have coached instead?
■ Were there times I didn’t intervene but should have?
■ My child will be leaving home in several years. Am I using these years to help build resilience, confidence and autonomy? What can I do to make this more a part of my parenting?
■ Did I encourage my child to enjoy an activity without putting the emphasis on winning, getting a leading role or earning a trophy?
■ Did I find ways to praise my child’s efforts in something, or did I focus mostly on results?
■ Have I talked with my child directly about important age-appropriate topics instead of assuming that he or she somehow understands my values (social media, language, bullying, sexual activity, consent etc)?
THE BIG TOPIC
Have I helped my child set limits on social media, gaming etc this summer?
What is my limit for my child/children?
How many hours, what kind of content do I believe I will allow them to watch?
How involved am I with their engagement with the cyber world?
What are the five things I did well this year? Times I tried, even if it didn’t work out quite the way I envisioned. Give yourself credit for that.
Extra credit: Write or email your child’s teacher. This means the world. Gifts are lovely, but a note can absolutely change a life. No exaggeration.