Check-in with the kids
I started a practice with my daughter, Silja, last autumn, where we did a check-in and reflected on the day and what had happened in school. After she started in first grade, the typical answer when I asked how school had been was: Fine… When I asked her what she had done in the school, she could not remember specific events.
In the beginning of first grade, she had used a practice a couple of times, where the teachers showed the kids to evaluate different activities by rating them on 1 to 5.
So we extended that practice and I started to ask her how the day had been on a scale from 1 to 5 (she likes to have 1 as the best possible and 5 as a really bad day). Then I ask her what should have been different if it should be a better rating and she starts to talk about events during the day that she did not like. Suddenly we have a conversation about events during the day that I did not hear about in the past and it feels much easier for her talk about them. Often it only takes a couple of minutes and we do the talk when time feels right and we can just have the 1:1 conversation. I don’t judge the events but let her talk about the different experiences during the day.
A typical conversation would happen like this:
- Me: Silja, have has you day been today.
- Silja: : <thinking> I would give it a 3
- Me: Okay, and what should have happened for it to be a 2?
- Silja: <thinking> I god sad in the morning because of … and when we had the break this happened… and after lunch we did this … that was not fun… <etc>
- Me: <silent> okay, and if the day should have been even better be a 1, what should then have happened?
- Silja: <thinking> then we should have done this … and this …
It is amazing how this simple talking protocol has established a way where Silja and I can reflect on her day at school.
I have used similar reflection practices with agile teams and it can be a very powerful tool to focus the reflection.
If you have kids, try some of your agile thinking not only at work but also home.