Like many of you, our family is juggling two kids in elementary school and two demanding careers. Between meetings, we bus over snacks to our children and try to find quiet spaces in different corners of our home. Despite being under the same roof all day, we found it hard to connect meaningfully on what we all had going on. 

This is why I introduced stand-up meetings—a tool I use in my agile change consulting practice where I focus on the neuroscience of change—to my family. 

At work, a stand-up meeting is a short meeting usually no longer than 10-15 minutes, where everyone goes around sharing priorities and problems. We typically ask three simple questions:

  1. What did I get done?
  2. What do I need to do next?
  3. Where do I need some help?

We ask the same questions at home too. My daughters’ priorities have included things like “build a snowman” and “play Roblox” along with “finish homework” and “study for a test.” They also delegate tasks like pros “Mom, please pick up our library books today”. As a bonus, my younger one takes notes on what everyone else is doing and is sure to ask “did you get such and such task done?”

Interestingly, scientists at the University of California found kids who plan their own time, set weekly goals, and evaluate their own work build up their prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain that help them exert greater control over their lives. This can be especially powerful in the early years of childhood, sometimes referred to as the magic decade, when their brains are growing very fast and they are learning new and different things every day.

Stand-up meetings also help me create psychological safety at home. I am very open about when I come up short or don’t get something done. And I try to model asking for help and offering help. I know these challenging times have helped my kids build resilience and a sense of personal responsibility. I hope through my willingness to be vulnerable and share my own failures, they too have started to look at failures as opportunities to learn and ask for help.  

Our daily stand-up meeting has quickly become the highlight of my day and I hope they are for my daughters as well. I encourage you to try it too and let me know how it goes for you!

By Antara Prasad, Managing Partner at AP Consultants LLC