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The start of the school year always comes with its own set of surprises and challenges, whether it’s finding just the right school supplies, putting together the perfect first day of school outfit or just getting back into the routine of getting up in the morning. With all of the issues related to COVID-19 you might be feeling like you are going to need superhuman strength to kick off this school year with a bang. That’s where SUPER HABITS come in!

Before explaining Super Habits, it’s important to understand where the idea originates. Super Habits are based on the work of Art Costa and Bena Kallick. They identified 16 habits that highly successful people use in their everyday life. These habits, which they call Habits of Mind or HOM, can be taught to children and over time become part of their daily habits. As you look over this list, I bet they are all things you would like to see more of in your children and family.

Sometimes it can be hard to get kids excited about learning new ways of doing things and building better habits. Think about how you use songs to encourage hand washing and set timers or use light up tooth brush so your child brushes his/her teeth. You have to make it fun. That’s why I created Super Habits. It’s just a fun way of thinking about the habits as super powers by creating fun phrases to call them out when you see them, like POW! Persisting on Work. This is actually the first habit. Persisting. Sticking to it, is the ultimate super habit. Every super hero has it! It’s not giving up until the fight is won. It makes the impossible, possible. It’s easy to stick to it when things are easy, but what about when it’s hard work. That’s when you need POW! Persisting On Work. Persisting is sticking with a task, looking for ways to reach your goal and not giving up. This skill is essential for learning. As babies we learn to walk because we persist. Sometimes as we grow up, we start to doubt our abilities and give up. There are two powerful tools to persisting.

  1. Everything is figureoutable! With this mindset you refuse to give up.

  2. YET! I can’t do it…Yet! I don’t know how to do it…Yet!

The Olympics provided many opportunities to see this super power in action. Kids also enjoy pointing out how their favorite super hero demonstrates this power. Making POW a Super Habit in your family is easy. Here are some steps you can take:

· Learn about POW in 2 minutes.

· Talk about POW as a family.

· Share examples of times you persisted or you saw your child using POW.

· Make a poster or POW cards to hand out when you see your child using POW.

· Try to catch each other using POW and celebrate it!

· Play board games such as Chess or Ticket to Ride to build your POW muscle or outdoor activities like golf or learning to ride a bike.

· Do a hands-on activity as a family like the Spaghetti/Marshmallow tower. Talk about how you use POW.

· Read books about persisting. Here’s a great book list.

Look for opportunities to practice POW and celebrate when you see it. Over time it will become a habit. Then try adding another Super Habit to your toolkit. Play around and see if you can come up with more super power phrases for the Habits of Mind and fun ways to bring them into your family. Here are a few of my favorites:

· ZAP - Zen and Peace – Habit 2 Managing Impulsivity

· BAM – Brains are Mighty. Habit 5 Thinking about Thinking

· WOW – Words Often Work – Habit 9 Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision

· CRASH - Creating Really Awesome Stuff Habit – Habit 11 Creating, imagining and innovating

· AWE - Always Wonder about Everything. Habit 12 Responding with Wonderment and Awe.

· SPLAT - Sometimes People Learn All Together – Habit 15 Thinking interdependently

Dr. Cheryl Peterson is an adjunct instructor in the Hamline Gifted Certificate Program along with Pam McDonald and Sue Feigal-Hitch. Within their courses, teachers are taught Habits of Mind as a strategy for working with gifted and talented students. For more information about the Hamline Gifted Certificate Program visit

To learn more about Habits of Mind visit Costa and Kallick have some amazing resources to support teaching HOM including an animated series available at Habits of Mind Kids In addition, James Anderson, has been working with Habits of Mind for over 15 years and has developed many classroom resources including the graphic shared in this article. A free starter kit is available at

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