This series of Success Skill guides uses processes of identification, gathering evidence, and repetition to proactively encourage our brains to learn a new skill. Identification means you label or name the skills which makes it easier for your brain to recall and connect to. Gathering evidence is about seeing examples which helps your brain know what the desired behaviors look like and that they are possible. Repetition solidifies the new thought pattern ensuring the the brain will use this new method of thinking in the future. To use make this happen:
1) Be familiar with what the skill of the month looks like by reading through the information on the website and/or printable summary page. It might be helpful to print out the summary sheet to put in a place you can see it.
2) Think about which resources you will use and when. The resources act as the evidence your brain needs. It can be used to begin conversations and reinforce the ideas and actions involved with the skill of the month. There are lots of resources listed on the website. It’s up to you to choose how many you want to use. It’s not necessary to use them all.
Use questions in your conversations in order to know what children are thinking and understanding about these ideas. The more their brains interact with these ideas the more they can become part of their behavior.
Think about which activities you want to use and when you can do some of them together. (You could read stories together after school or at bedtime.) You don’t have to do an activity or have a discussion about this skill everyday, but a few times a week will keep the ideas in mind. That will make it easier to remember to notice the skill and work on the challenges you’ll choose to do together.
3) Introduce the skill to your child. Pick an activity to start with. Movies work well for this. But a story could work too. Follow up about that activity with a short discussion about what the skill is and what it looks like. Information at the top of the summary sheet will be helpful for that discussion.
Keep it relatively short so kids don’t lose interest. You don’t need to tell them everything there is to know about the skill in one sitting. You can always add more information during later conversations. And listen to their observations, as kids interact with these ideas they will probably have some important insights of their own.
4) Continue to reinforce this skill.
Find additional evidence of the skill by using and discussing additional resources from the list on the website or summary sheet (and of course, ones you know of). Other point out examples of the skill you notice around you, especially in yourself and the child. (See more info about how to do this.)
Even if you move on to another skill, continue to point out evidence and label this skill occasionally. It’s especially important to mention when yourself or a child use that specific skill (or even lovingly ask how that skill could have helped or been used in a specific situation).