When I was 8 or 9 for some reason I thought it was a significant sign of maturity for someone to have their own house keys. I was in elementary school and I really wanted my parents to give me my own set of house keys. My dad, being a wise man, gave me a key ring with half a dozen old and useless keys and said that if I could keep this on me and not lose it for 4 weeks then he would give me a real set of keys. Those four weeks were not only a test of my organizational skills but they also helped me build a habit that is still with me today.
That short term trial allowed me the chance to show my parents that I was ready for a new responsibility. Often times our children are also ready for the next thing but we as parents may not be ready to move forward. What are things that we can do on a trial basis to give our kids a chance? Offering a trial has it's benefits including:
- If it doesn't go well you can always end the trial and go back to the ways things were
- You are communicating that you are willing to extend trust
- It suggests that the new thing being trialed is important enough to approach with caution and care
- It gives you a built in system to check in on their progress and give them feedback
- The added pressure of the trial period will help them focus their energy on high performance and this will build a strong habit over time
Identify one thing this week that you can offer to your children on a trial basis. Let them show you they are ready to take it on!