Discover New Practices 3 Exercises for a Better You from the Greater Good Science Center e) break down the job into subtasks: take everything out of the closet, sweep the fl oor, dust the shelves, get rid of stuff that you don’t need anymore, sort the things that you want to keep and put them in boxes, put the boxes back in the closet; f) remind yourself that it’s OK if you don’t do everything perfectly, or complete the entire task. Deliberate Practices for Kids Time Required Deliberate practice is a technique that your children can engage in whenever they want to develop a diffi cult skill. You can offer some guidance on how to do it, particularly when you see them struggling and in need of encouragement. These conversations can take anywhere from fi ve to 30 minutes. How to Do It Kids practice to reach all kinds of goals—writing their names, dribbling a basketball, playing a song on the guitar. Deliberate practice is a research-based technique that will make their practice sessions more effective so they can improve over time. Goal Visualization A way to tackle a daunting task Time Required 10 minutes daily for 3 weeks How to Do It Identify one goal that you would like to achieve in the next day or two and briefl y describe it in writing. Make sure that this goal is realistic and not too time-consuming (e.g., “tidy up the hall closet” rather than “clean the entire house top to bottom”) and something that is important to you (e.g., “spend more time with the kids” rather than “learn about the life cycle of the common fl y”). To help you visualize how you will go about accomplishing this goal, describe in writing the steps that you will take to get there. For example, if your goal is to tidy up the hall closet, these are the steps that you might take to achieve it: a) schedule one hour tonight that you will devote to cleaning; b) turn off your cell phone/other distractors; c) put on some comfortable clothes; d) turn on some upbeat music; Teach your kids these four principles of deliberate practice: Work on weaknesses: Rather than doing things that they already do well, children should focus on the things that are hard for them. For example, they might replay the part of their trumpet solo with the high notes that they’ve been having trouble with, rather than the parts that they know well. Give full concentration: Teach children to avoid distractions that Rethink failure: Teach your children that failure is a normal part of learning by modeling comfort with mistakes. Share your experiences of failure with your children, so they learn that we all fail sometimes—and these failures teach us lessons that help us in the future. Rethink frustration and confusion: Teach your children that frustration and confusion are a natural part of practice. Encourage them to see these feelings as signs that they are in the “stretch zone,” the space that helps us develop new skills. Rethink talent: Read books, watch TV interviews, or listen to podcasts with your children that focus on how musicians, athletes, or actors work on their craft to be successful. Talk to your children about how their favorite players or actors spend many hours practicing and getting feedback from their coaches or directors. Remind your children that they too can improve by seeking feedback and taking the time to practice. Share the experience: Encourage your children to share their experiences of failure, frustration, practice, and success with friends and family. Ask them to refl ect on the value of practice and how they are learning not only to expect that failure, frustration, and confusion will be part of the process, but to feel more comfortable with those experiences along the way. make it hard to stay on task, like noise, social media, or people nearby. Instead of writing an essay with their phone beside them while hanging out with friends, they might go to a quiet library and tuck their phone in their backpack. Get feedback: Encourage children to fi nd out what they got right and where they made mistakes by asking a teacher or coach or checking their work. For example, if they made mistakes on their long-division homework, they might review their work again and talk to their teacher about how they can solve those problems correctly in the future. Repeat until mastery: Encourage children to keep working on their weaknesses, stay on task, and get feedback until they master their specifi c goal. Because deliberate practice is hard, you can offer a few tips to help motivate your children to engage in it: Best Possible Self Foster Optimism by Imagining a positive future Time Required 15 minutes per day for two weeks How to Do It Take a moment to imagine your life in the future. What is the best possible life you can imagine? Consider all of the relevant areas of your life, such as your career, academic work, relationships, hobbies and health. What would happen in these areas of your life in your best possible future? For the next 15 minutes, write continuously about what you imagine this best possible future to be. Use the instructions below to help guide you through this process. It may be easy for this exercise to lead you to examine how your current life may not match this best possible future. You may be tempted to think about ways in which accomplishing goals has been diffi cult for you in the past, or about fi nancial/time/social barriers to being able to make these accomplishments happen. For the purpose of this exercise, however, we encourage you to focus on the future—imagine a brighter future in which you are your best self and your circumstances change just enough to make this best possible life happen. This exercise is most useful when it is very specifi c—if you think about a new job, imagine exactly what you would do, who you would work with and where it would be. The more specifi c you are, the more engaged you will be in the exercise and the more you’ll get out of it. Page 5

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