Finishing Off Circles

Your child can meet that extra-high level of success by finishing off a task right to the end.



Parents will often ask me what they can do to help their child meet that extra-high level of success. In school, it may mean moving up in grades from a B to an A, or an A to an A+. In sports, it could mean moving up from a house league to a competitive league. A person's ability to think quickly and combine many facts and ideas, as well as their skill sets, all help students move up to an elite level. Those are usually the attributes that people work on. There is, however, another attribute that is generally not given enough attention, and that is finishing off your circles. Now, I don't just mean drawing a circle; what I am talking about here is to finish off a task right to the end.

When watching those high performers who seem to rise above the others, they take their time to complete something right to the bitter end, therefore ensuring every detail is taken care of before moving onto something new. They tend to do this naturally, not just in their studies, but in all areas of their lives. It is a habit that separates them from others. Below, I have stated a couple of examples of finishing circles in everyday situations.

1. Putting away dishes after a meal. Many kids will put their dishes onto the top of the counter and not take that extra 5 seconds to put them into the dishwasher. Finishing the circle is putting them into the dishwasher.

2. Putting clothes away when getting undressed, rather than leaving them on the bed or on the floor.

3. When leaving a room, finishing the circle is turning off the lights.

4. When your child finishes writing a test early, does (s)he take the time to go back and check over their answers, redo the questions, and check for silly mistakes?

5. When doing homework, the circle is finished by ensuring that each and every question is completed, including the last question. Many students don't quite finish the "homework circle" by not completing the last part of the last question, or of several questions. Spending extra time on those "endings" could naturally take a student up a grade.

These may seem like obvious points; however, many children (and adults) will build up several unfinished "circles", which cause a lot more work and therefore a lot of stress. Purposefully paying attention to finishing circles right away can change a child's life in a very simple and quick manner. Making them aware of these "circles" and the importance of finishing them off properly will help them understand that this isn't just you "nagging" them to finish something. If changes are needed to help a child finish off their circles, then the fastest way to do it is to comment on their finished circles when they are complete. Immediate feedback has a much greater chance to create a behavioural change.

Kimberley Langen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spirit of Math Schools. Kim taught elementary and high school students in public and private institutions and was the Director of Academics for a private girls’ school. She is now Spirit of Math‘s CEO and a consultant for private and public school divisions. She has a B.A. and  a B.Sc. Hons., both from Queen’s University, as well as a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto. She was instrumental in putting together the curriculum and teacher training programs to form what is now the Spirit of Math method. After Gwen passed away in 2001, Kim wanted to ensure this system continued, and she transformed Spirit of Math from a program based on the three “Ledgers” to one that would include many other people. Spirit of Math has been recognized in 2014 and 2015 by PROFIT Magazine as one of Canada's fastest growing companies. Kim Langen is an entrepreneur of the year finalist by EY Canada in 2015 and is on Chatelaine Magazines W100 list of top female entrepreneurs for 2015. For more information on Spirit of Math Schools, visit www.spiritofmath.com.

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