We have either seen on TV or experienced for ourselves the pre-game huddle. The pre-game huddle may have taken place in the locker room or on the sidelines before the play starts.
This same pre-game pep talk works with your children or students. It is your opportunity to gather everyone in to share the game plan – what’s in store for the day, for the next hour, or for the next task.
It may sound something like:
“Today we are going to clean our bedrooms. Who needs their bedroom cleaned?! Isn’t it going to feel great to sleep tonight on fresh, clean sheets? Let’s see what lost toys we can find! Let’s put on some music and dance while we put toys back where they belong, pick things up off the floor so that you can vacuum, and put any lost dirty laundry in the laundry basket. I’ll float from room to room to lend a helping hand. Let’s stay focused because when you are all done with your room, I have a surprise for you.”
Or you may need to say:
“Hey gang, I’d like to do some work for the next hour. May I have your help by staying occupied so that I can work for an hour without any interruptions? While I work, what would you like to do? You are welcome to paint, play Legos, or read.”
When it comes time to go out to a restaurant, to the doctor’s or dentist’s office, or to a friend’s house, stop and take time to explain to them what they are about to experience and how they are expected to behave. It may sound something like:
“Is everyone ready to go out to eat? Who is hungry?! When we arrive at the restaurant and sit down at our tables, how are we going to behave? What can we do to bless those around us and to help them to enjoy their meal out?”
Ideas include keeping voices loud enough for just our table to hear; remembering good table manners; saying thank you to the waitress or waiter; and waiting patiently if the food takes long to come.
You can also pre-game a child or student using a Speak Life Badge. If you need to ask your child to do a task and you know they have the tendency to be easily distracted or to lose focus, stop, look them in the eyes, smile and say,
“I know that you follow directions right away. When I ask you to do something, you stay focused on the task and get it done the first time I ask. I want to give you this badge that says, ‘I Stayed Faithful to the Task.’ Now, I need you to ____explain the task in short, clear directions____. Thank you, ___child’s name___. I am so thankful that I can count on you to get the job done.”
You have spoken belief over them. You have clearly explained what was expected of them. Since you are in a pre-game huddle, you’ve had eye contact all along so that you know they were listening. This deliberate pre-game talk removes the frustration of “I didn’t hear you tell me that, Mom.” “What’d you say, Dad?” Now that is a real win, isn’t it?!