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.


Posted on October 18, 2011, in Agile. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reading this, i recollected similar experience with my daughter who’s going to the play school but cannot remember what she did.

    I think i now know the trick and also learn from it. Thanks Mads. 🙂

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