Do you notice your child getting overwhelmed by big projects? It might be time to try a technique called “backwards mapping” to make sure your child stays focused over the holidays. Backwards mapping is an essential tool for completing projects that require time management and that have many steps spanning over a long period of time.
Backwards mapping involves breaking a large project into smaller, more manageable tasks and applying deadlines to stay on schedule. It’s important for your child to be active in the process of identifying the tasks and applying realistic timelines to the process when creating the plan, so your main job is just to initiate the planning process. After that, sit back and listen to your child work it all out on paper themselves. It is acceptable be a guide and correct if you notice they’re off track, but for your child to truly learn this effective technique it is important for you to take a hands off approach.
Here are some tips to help smooth out the process and make it effective as possible:
The idea of the introduction is for you to ask the right questions. Start with the final due date, and then following up with: “What do you need to have done halfway to the deadline?” or “What about a week before the due date?” and “How long do you think it’ll take you to complete this portion?”
Use the family calendar
Using the family calendar adds importance to the tasks and makes the deadlines a little more real.
Talk about the progress daily
Communication is key. It keeps everyone in the loop and adds weight to staying on track.
When they complete a challenging aspect of the project it’s important to validate their efforts. A simple “Good job, I’m proud of you” may do, depending on the scope of the project.
Children live in the present and it may be hard for them to grasp the concept of backwards mapping, so stay upbeat and don’t expect too much too soon.