‘Tis the season to be jolly. Home sure is more fun when kids (of all ages) act their best.
Seeking solutions (vs. blame).
Giving a helping hand… Continue reading “12 + 1 Gifts to build respect and collaboration at home”
‘Tis the season to be jolly. Home sure is more fun when kids (of all ages) act their best.
Seeking solutions (vs. blame).
Giving a helping hand… Continue reading “12 + 1 Gifts to build respect and collaboration at home”
Rain, rain, go away. It’s been raining in France for weeks. The Seine river is overflowing, and muddy water oozes into homes. Trendy houseboat dwellers now row home!
There is a parallel for our families: How can we parents protect our children from flooding emotions and dark moods?
Read below about:
It’s a grey day in Paris. We’ve had rain for weeks and the flooding Seine river leaked into the basements of river-side homes. On June 3 folk still don padded jackets and woolen scarves. At this time of year Parisian ladies usually strut in bright colors, reserving black for their sunglasses. Today, the fall garde-robe is back on the street: chic black from head to toe.
Parisians and tourists alike feel cheated. This is not the weather it is supposed to be. Spring, where art thou? When did Paris become the City of Indirect Light?
The Louvre museum closed its doors today to move their art treasures stored in the basement to a safer spot.
Only the security guards stood in the queues. Slow business day for the trinket salesmen chasing the few tourists mulling about the Glass Pyramid and wandering the grand palatial esplanade.
Could parents learn from the Louvre during our times of flooding emotions, debris floating through our communication, streams, and cold fronts settling into homes?
What would our homes be like if we “closed down for the day” and “moved our treasures to a secure place”?
I just did … and was surprised by sounds. The bird chirping. A boy bouncing a basketball. A frustrated driver honking his horn. Again. Water flowing through the pipes…
Our Parisian life is SPEED and BUSY. It’s a strain on relationships. It’s tough on adults. You can bet it’s a challenge to children.
And we wonder why our kids misbehave.
“Children do better when they feel better,” reminds us Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline.
In our home it means this: my kids will benefit more from learning to unwind than from (yet another)
Brain science reveals that our human brains physically change shape when we are angry. Our reasoning functions get “disconnected” which leaves us with raw emotion. Hardly helpful to resolve delicate differences.
Dr. Daniel Siegel explains the phenomena clearly with his short video.
Child psychotherapist Jeanette Yoffe enchantingly describes the kid version of Daniel Siegel’s hand model of the brain. Show it to your children and you’ll gain a common understanding and LOTS LESS STRESS!
Jane Nelsen goes a step further and shows us PRACTICALLY how to create a physical and emotional space for our kids to reconnect and, once again, be at their best. She calls this a Positive Time Out. (Check out her sneak peak video and you’ll hear this insightful parenting expert explain it in her own words.)
It works for kids of all ages, from parents to teens to tykes.
Our family enjoys a Family Feedback where the kids give me feedback. One year, our youngest told me “Mom, when you’re angry, go to your room.”
I no longer have to be a “perfect mom” and think of calming down myself. My kids tell me…kindly.
“Remember what to do when you’re angry….!” “Mom, is this a good time for you to go to your room?!!!!” and sometimes even, “I don’t know where you’re going, but, Mom, I am going to MY room. We’ll talk when you calmed down.”
My kids “parent” me. What a freedom. I can be human. And still loved. And avoid having the s____ hit the f____ and all that emotional clean up that comes along with the ugly scene.
This moment to regain perspective is so vital that Care for the Family even calls their parenting classes “Time Out for Parents” with special focus for Early Years, Teenage Years, and Children with Special Needs.
In France, school is not out yet for the summer. It’s exam period. My teens manage their stress and reconnect their brains with basketball, even shooting hoops on their own.
It’s rhythmic. The ball goes bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, shoot and bounces again.
It engages body and mind.
It is respite. On the court, Mom and Dad don’t badger them about their study plan!
In my Positive Discipline parenting classes, one mother shared how Cuddly Corner helped her food-throwing daughter calm down.
They had previously created a space whose purpose was “to help Alice feel better.” When the peas started flying through the air, Maman asked her screaming princess if she would be happier after a time in Cuddly Corner. Alice stopped her pitching of peas in mid swing, thrust out her bottom lip, and whimpered, “Yyyyyyeeeeeeesssss.”
(Five minutes later Alice felt better and came to help mom sweep the floor.)
Positive Time Out works just as well in Paris as in California as in Sydney. I love how fun, Australian mum Nae, blogger on Adventures at Home with Mum. She writes about her son’s Chill Out Corner. Nae (mother) and Dimples (son) gave the place a name that means something to them both. It’s called marketing for your kids and Nae has done an awesome job engaging multiple senses like perfuming the space with Lavender Rice and providing Squeeze Balls to relax tense fingers. It’s clearly a space where Dimples knows he has value and is loved.
The teachers at Queen Anne Elementary School in Seattle, WA developed a Positive Time Out space for their students. Under a blue cloud that evokes sunny skies (!) children are invited to take a break, reset their brain, calm down, and find some peace. There is a “je ne sais quoi” about Cloud City chez Queen Anne which we miss today in Grey Skies chez Louis XIV!
The Louvre museum time out has a purpose: to save treasures.
What are our family treasures and how are you and I preserving them?
My most precious resources are relationships and time. Time flies. Love lasts.
As the mother of four boys within seven years, I longed to have quality time, even one-on-one moments, with each child. How? Let’s be practical.
The solutions came unexpectedly and to my utmost amazement. These precious exchanges happened doing chores!
Our family (that is, Me, Myself, and I) instituted a system of chores so that Mom would not be the maid. As the only woman in the house, I conscientiously invest in teaching my future men to respect women. Allowing them to expect the woman-of-the-house to clean up after their mess modeled the opposite beliefs.
I changed in order for them to change.
Soon my boys and I were doing similar housework. If I was the maid, they were too. Amazingly, they no longer thought of me as cleaner-upper!
We tried multiple ways of organizing chores, always using a chore chart to facilitate communication and accountability.
Chore charts are like teeth. Ignore them and they will go away. To make a chore chart work with kids, parents need to follow through. Inspection is a gift: a job well done can receive recognition.
(Have you noticed the number of times we parents request something of a child and then ignore him when he’s done it?! Would you rush to obey again too?! )
Our first attempt at organizing housework resembles the chart Ashley Langston posted on Frugal Coupon Living. Like hers, we used images (only hers are much prettier). 🙂 Cute visuals make work more fun for everyone.
Nonetheless, we soon had to change. “Clean up your room” (one of the jobs listed on Ashley’s chore chart and on mine too) requires verification.
We checked our chore charts before dinner. Five minutes before mealtime I would go up to the children’s rooms and check for cleanliness. My eyes hurt from the mess.
“Darlings, cleaning up happens before dinner.”
“It’s clean, Mom.” (!!!!)
“Clean means nothing on the floor and the bed is made. I SHALL RETURN!” And off I scurried to complete the finishing touches on the meal.
Five minutes later, I popped my head into their room. The bed would be made with the toys under the covers…or half the floor was cleared up…or…
Inevitably, dinner was burnt.
So we tried something else.
Helping at home would include tasks that could be verified from the kitchen while I was preparing dinner.
Opportunities abound: setting & clearing the table, taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, helping the cook, and helping for 5 minutes for whatever.
(To secure clean-ish rooms, we insisted on putting toys away before playing computer games. Whoever was playing with a messy room was asked to stop playing for the day and was kindly and firmly oriented to his neatening up task.)
Every evening, one child and I would be work side by side for a few moments in the kitchen. We learned to make them precious. As Table-Setter-of-the-Week (we rotated chores on a weekly basis) laid out the forks and knives, I would learn about the boxing match during recess…from his perspective. Between spinning salad and slicing carrots we explored ways to make up with his friend or to avoid bullies.
Another pair of hands might venture into Kitchen Territory during these discussions to be greeted with, “We’re having a Rendez Vous. Could you come back later, please?”
They did, knowing that as they honored the parent-child-one-on-one-time of a sibling, he would benefit from the same respect during his turn.
Tsh Oxenreider’s Chore Chart for Preschoolers includes an added plus: the kids make it. She provides the children with the framework and the images (key success factor) of various tasks.
THE CHILDREN DEFINE WHICH TASK GOES TO WHOM.
Half, oops, two thirds of the job of getting chores done is convincing the kids to do them. This chart enables tykes to choose their chore.
Since they decided on their job, they are more inclined to fulfill it.
This worked for us when my brother and his triplet boys came to visit.
How does ONE woman manage with NINE hungry men? DELEGATION.
We settled the boys down with a list of chores and they worked out who did what. Read here how they exclaimed, “I WANT vacuuming!”
Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, President of The Mother Company shares another feasible example of a simple way to change the way we spend our time to protect and cherish relationships. In her video on Special Time she share how the first 15 minutes after coming in from work get dedicated to her son.
I used this example in a training for nannies who are mothers themselves. They come home exhausted with their own children to bathe, feed, and check on homework. And that’s before attacking the housework.
“How would your life be different if your children ate dinner fifteen minutes later?” I inquired.
After some debate they did conclude it wouldn’t make that a life-shattering change.
“How would your life be different if you had fifteen non-work minutes a day with your children? You might just sit with them, listen, cuddle, look them in the eye, or play a game?” Their eyes popped.
One nanny confessed, “I want to tell my kids ‘I love you,’ but most of the time I say, ‘I’m busy.’ These fifteen minutes would be transformative.” Vive la (Home) Revolution!
Signing off….to snuggle next to my sons watching the Roland Garros women’s final on TV. For this Parisian tennis tournament on June 4, Serena Williams dons leggings and a long-sleeved shirt.
The sun will come out tomorrow…?
It has been snowing all week. Every day. All day. Every night.
We go to the mountains to have snow, but deeeeep down, here is my real wish: I awake every morning to optimal ski conditions. Abracadabra.
Snow fall, ski slope grooming, and snow plowing would have all happened during my sleep 🙂
Do parents have a similar wish for their children’s good behavior?
Mom or Dad ask for a clean room. Like magic children’s toys are put away, the floor in spotless, the books are neatly stacked on the bookshelves, the bed is made, and the desk is cleared and ready-for-work. “Aussitôt dit. Aussitôt fait.” Say the word, and it’s done. Just to our liking, no less!
No need for any teaching, training, or follow through!
We moms and dads must have received our parenting tips straight Mary Poppins and Nanny MacFee. Or maybe our children were born with an innate understanding of what parents consider appropriate behavior…
Just as we adults benefit from training in our jobs, children benefit from training in order to be able to behave well.
[bctt tweet=”Like adults who get training in our jobs, children benefit from training in order to perform well. “]
Think about it. Did our sons and daughters clean their room in the womb? Did our babes learn proper table manners at the breast?
We parents often teach through discipline. We tell our kids what is wrong. “Your room is messy.” “Elbows off the table, please.”
How do they find out what is desirable behavior? Is there a more appropriate and encouraging way than through trial and error?
Would you like your boss to keep on telling you, “NO,” until you get it right? How motivating is that?!
Earth stills when snow falls.
Sounds are muted. Senses are chilled. Worries from the office seem faaaaaarrrrrr away.
These extraordinary apprenticeship years of our kids are precious and last such a short while. Sooner than later our kids graduate and move out.
What life skills and talents do our children take with them as they go out on their own? THIS is our parenting vocation.
My mother is celebrating a BIG birthday and we are writing her letters of thanks. I realized that I have many more memories with her AFTER having left home than while I was a child.
The birthday parties I recall through photos.
Here is what I remember through experience and which lives in my soul: the ambiance of love, the assurance that she had time for me, and her belief in my potential (especially when I acted out of line).
These qualities are communicated by savoring the present. The magic of small successes. Noticing appropriate behavior. Appreciating hard work. Encouraging me to persevere.
Aren’t those life skills you wish to pass onto your darlings?
I love skiing FAST.
Except when there is no visibility and I wonder if I am about to speedily crash and plant my face into fresh powder.
When it snows, it is time to slow down. Just a tad.
When your child misbehaves, might it be an invitation to shift into a lower gear?
In manufacturing circles, we refer to a bottleneck: THE operation that slows the entire process down.
No matter how much we improve other aspects of the manufacturing cycle, the process will only improve when we address THAT critical juncture.
Where is the weak point in your child’s ability to carry out your request? Slowing down helps you observe your sweethearts and identify their appropriate behavior “bottleneck.”
That’s a sure guarantee of misbehavior! So, the parenting issue to address is getting their attention before giving instructions.
Bend down to their level, make eye contact, smile, and THEN stipulate, “Honey, it is time to clean your room.”
Playthings are tumbled into a box. To reach that one desired game, your child rummages through the entire stack (a.k.a. dumps them all over the floor). The issue is too many toys or finding a better way to store games.
“Sweetheart, you like a comfy home. Your toys want to be more comfortable too. Here are two boxes: toys-at-home and toys-on-vacation. Do you want to choose which toys go on vacation this week or should I? YOU can change every weekend!”
Slowing down helps identify your child’s unique bottleneck.
When it snows, visibility is reduced which renders many skiers less comfortable on the slopes. That’s when we CONSCIOUSLY rely on ski technique: bending down further to propel us through the turns in heavy snow, maintaining supple knees to absorb obstacles we no longer see, keeping our body weight correctly balanced over the skis…
Many of these gestures we do without thinking…until it snows and we once again recall and apply our technique.
In a similar way, when training the kids, why not break down a large task into its many smaller bits.
If our initial instructions (ex. clean your room) seems foggy to the kids, let us help them return to their comfort zone by reviewing the individual steps required for success of the total “project” (and securing appropriate behavior can seem like a PROJECT).
A clean room means
Think of our children’s tasks like a gourmet dish. There is a recipe to follow. Step by step.
If it’s good enough for the best chefs in the world, I’ll give it a go in our home too 🙂
After snowfall, some slopes get plowed and others are left virgin. Different strokes for different folks.
A good skier can master the smooth surfaces even with minimal visibility. An excellent skier dances through the powder.
“Sweetheart, a cleanish room is when the bed is made and the clothes are off the floor. A super-dooper-totally-awesomely-amazingly-clean room is when you also put your socks in the sock drawer, your shirts in the shirt drawer….”
A steaming hot chocolate and warm (greasy) fries taste especially delicious when coming in from difficult ski conditions.
“Darling. Well done.”
Upon leaving our mountain chalet, we clean up. Kids help with the chores. During one vacation with my sister and her family, our Make-A-Loud-Fuss son resisted doing his job: to clean the bathroom sink & mirror.
She taught him the secret to super-shiny-bathroom-cleaning (Spray the chrome with window cleaner. It sparkles!) and off he went.
He made the chrome sparkle.
My sister rounded up the crew of siblings and cousins and they ALL marched to the bathroom to recognize a job well done.
Since that day, Mr.Fuss REQUESTS bathroom cleaning. He is the recognized family expert on appropriate bathroom cleanliness. We have delegated to him the responsibility of coaching his brothers on quality control.
That’s a win-win situation!
How would you and your family’s life be different if you took a fresh look at a “bad news” situation?
Everything I needed to know about parenting teens, I learned at the Harvard Business School.
I’m only kind of kidding. Let’s start with strategy & action plan…
…and market segmentation. To sign up or go directly to the download , click below.
Getting kids to help with chores seemed like an ideal requiring extra-superlative effort made by super-moms…
until some ugly attitudes crept up chez nous. Then it became a vital necessity. Continue reading “How Mother’s Shock Got Kids Doing Chores”
Vacation = more fun 🙂
Vacation = more cooking, cleaning…and chores!
When Mom & Dad do ALL the chores, vacation can feel like work.
When the WHOLE family (and guests too) share, vacation feels like play 🙂
Turn a challenge into an loving opportunity. The kids love you. Let them know you feel loved when they help with chores at home. They will feel needed and valued. Everyone wins.
And there is more time to play…for EVERYONE.
[bctt tweet=”With our vacation chore chart, EVERYONE helps. Work faster. Play sooner and longer…for EVERYONE!”]
Parents invest 10 minutes now to clarilfy expectations and allow children to choose their jobs. Mom & Dad benefit from daily help for chores from kids all vacation long.
Gets parents and kids smiling.
Who would have thought printable chore charts could be so exciting! A fair and clear system for sharing household chores is appreciated because children are smart (especially yours!)
[av_testimonials style=’grid’ columns=’2′ interval=’5′ font_color=’custom’ custom_title=” custom_content=’#1cb3e6′]
[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Jeanette’ subtitle=’’Lil ones taught Big ones how to do chores’ link=’http://’ linktext=”]
Thanks SOOOO much for this. We used it over the summer holidays when 16 people were at home: my in-laws, my husband’s grown nephews, our four young girls … It was a mix of ages, cultures, expectations, you name it.
I organized folk in teams of two. Our eldest daughter was paired up with her 24 year-old cousin. She taught him how to set the table!
My husband was surprised to be put to work…and to be reminded to “do your job” by his daughter!
And I laughed and (almost…we were soooo many) relaxed.
[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Hugo’ subtitle=’Thought of you all vacation…and it was good’ link=” linktext=”]
Remember me? I’m your son’s friend. My parents did your thing for the jobs on vacation and I thought of you! Really, it got them off my back. It was normal to help out…a bit. We each took turns. It felt fair. Good idea.
Hope you had a good vacation too. See you soon.
[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Rayan’ subtitle=’I learned from the pictures’ link=” linktext=”]
Hi. I like the pictures. They taught me how to set the table so that I do a good job. My mom did not tell me how to set the table but showed me the pictures. Then she had me look at the table I set and compare it to the pictures. Oops. I learned how to do a job well. Thanks.
P.S. My mom helped write this.
[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Diane’ subtitle=’I’m teaching this to my parents’ link=” linktext=”]
Hi. I babysat a family with this job chart thing. It was so smooth and each kid knew what to do. I took a picture and showed it to my parents and brother and sister. We set up something like it at home. I was tired of being asked to interupt whatever I was doing to help because one of the others was not willing to help out. Now we know who does what. And when it’s our turn, then it’s OK to help. It’s normal even.
Thanks. This got my parents off our backs and everyone helping out…happily.
We are coming to a close of our Family Feedback of 2013. One son remains to give and receive his feedback with his parents. This is the fourth in the series of posts to give you a glimpse into one our most precious and powerful family moments.
Click here for our How To’s.
Read on to learn how my son told me to be more generous and I encouraged him to grow by working simple jobs of manual labor or service.
We are seated at the dinner table and the boys chose to go around in the order of seating. It’s our second son who finally got the floor.
Son (17 years): “Mom, what I really appreciate is your flexibility with letting me spend time (like the night) with my girlfriend.”
This is a very delicate issue between us because his behavior is in contradiction with my values. Yet, you see, my job as a parent is to provide him with an education and to present him with a set of values. He graduated from high school this summer and now lives out of our home. My role as a mother has evolved now: to allow my son to fly with his own wings. I did my BEST while he was under our roof. It is his life, not mine. I have made mistakes and learned some of my best lessons from them. He too will blunder. He might choose some or none of my values for his life. He will live with the consequences of those choices.
With regards to my life and beliefs, I try to follow Jesus Christ. Try. Because invariably I fail. But Jesus loves me. Still. So, if I follow Christ, I am to love. Still. And loving my son now means to be “less of me and more of him.”
Mom: “I’m glad you appreciate it.”
Son: “I really don’t have a way where you could change…”
This is our son who has complained and COMPLAINED about …everything and anything. He’s an expert at finding faults (and over the years he’s also learned to identify and encourage others’ strengths).
Son: “…ah yes. You didn’t do it this year for Christmas, but sometimes you offer people the gifts you would like to receive.”
Mom: “What do you mean, exactly?”
Son: “Last year you gave everyone kitchen tools. The ceramic knife, the knife holder, the latest fashion cookbook…you used them all.”
Embarrassingly, this is all true!
Mom: “I see (all too clearly) what you mean.”
Son: “Ok, what about me?”
Mom: “What you have done excellently last year is master your schoolwork. You graduated with honors. Intelligence contributes to these results, but you also worked for those grades. You exhibited discipline and determination…along with balance in your social and spiritual dimensions of life. And it was not just last year. This year your academic demands are even heftier and you’re at the top of your class and keeping up with a life.”
Dad: “You’re ranked N°1 in your class?”
Son: “Didn’t you know?”
Banter between son and father where the younger bull gets to show off his size and the senior one grunts his consent.
Mom: “And what you could do to change is considering getting a job. Try working for money. The jobs you’ll have at your age are mostly entry level manual labor or service positions. It’s a good thing to know first-hand the value of sweat and smile.”
Son: “I’ve thought of that. But you see, I don’t feel the neeeeeed to work yet. (oh, oh!) I work at school and then deserve a vacation. I can afford not to work now.”
Mom: “You can afford it? Who’s paying for your time off? Until when? Why?
Now that you have more of the privileges of adulthood, isn’t time that you also take on more of those responsibilities too?”
Mom: “Aagh! It’s tough when you want to eat your cake and keep it too!” (In French we say, ‘To have the butter and the money for the butter.’ ‘Avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.’)
We can all relate…and smile.
Dad: “Are we finished with the analysis and mutual-flagellation?”
Everyone: “Poooooor Dad!” “If it were THAT bad, why did you stay with us?” “Yes, dear ”
Mom: “Everyone clear his plate and takes at least one other thing back to the kitchen!”
Thus closed the evening meal and the Family Annual Review.
Our comments now hang in our Frame of Fame…where they’ll stay several weeks and re-appear from time to time over the year…as the need to be humble, be generous, think before speaking, advance step-by-step, or dress one’s age arises.
In this series: Family Annual Review Peek-a-boo
Enjoy the whole shebang!
It’s a delight to share the excerpt of my article from the fall 2015 edition of the Message Magazine. Enjoy!
“It was automagic, Mom…”
According to my four sons, spilled milk is automagic, so are the bite marks on a sibling’s arm, and so is my teen’s phone battery that runs out just as I call him.
How to respond to kids’ “béttises” (misbehaviors)? To laugh? To cry? To scream!
The 80/20 rule I learned in business school–which says that 80% of outcomes result from 20% of inputs—also applied to my parenting: the vast majority of challenges were addressed with the same tool: my voice. I spoke instructions, then raised my voice to unresponsive children, and ultimately just “lost it.”
In the business world, this management practice is called re-investing in a losing strategy.
At home, this behavior was considered “normal.”
Something had to change. What? And how?
I first tried to change other people: to shrink the kids and to tweak my husband. It eventually dawned on me to try and influence the one person over whom I had a semblance of control: moi.
It’s like I finally started walking the yellow brick road in the direction of Home Sweet Home, a path I could travel with other “sooper” (phenomenal and perfectly imperfect) parents, where I could gain a fresh perspective on life and success, and we could empower each other to be our best.
Has the arrival of kids taken your life by storm (and dropped you in the middle of Paris)? Join the club. Maybe the clouds will simply blow away… Until then, try stepping out of the fury.
That’s the relief I received from Positive Discipline, an approach to building respectful and collaborative relationships. I took a class, got hooked, and now lead workshops to help parents apply these principles for healthy relationships. Based on the work of Austrian psychiatrists Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, Positive Discipline is a model for teaching young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful contributors to society. Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott adapted these principles into an interactive curriculum, and their books have sold millions …because the approach does wonders to transform home life. It’s, like, automagic!
With Positive Discipline we first focus on…well, our own focus. Are we looking for blame or for solutions? How can we transform recurring challenges into opportunities to nurture respect, resilience, gratitude, love of excellence, and intimacy?
A wide array of Positive Discipline tools empower us to smoothly manage the daily issues: power struggles, undue demands for attention, sibling rivalry, repetition-repetition-repetition, and more. Additionally, these parenting “ruby slippers” hit the target with the needs of moms and dads in the Internet-age where our 2.0 youth expect to contribute to and impact their environment.
Positive Discipline works with teens as well as tots of 2.0 years. Here’s how we applied the Adlerian principle of Firm and Kind to the family job, Get-Out-the-Door-on-Time-for-School-and-Work-With-a-Smile. Firmness points to respecting the parental structure, such as the non-negotiability of timely departure. Kindness refers to respect of the child’s perspective, like considering their input in the process. Part of the Positive Discipline wonder lies in simultaneously respecting kids, mom & pop.
We created Positive Routines, a photo-reportage of the priority tasks for leaving on time. At work this would be called a job description communicated via Power Point. At home, we call it fun, practical, and empowering. It’s the process that renders the tool so effective. First, we sat down to enumerate the multiple tasks needed to get done before walking out the door. Deep discussion ranged from, “We gotta wake up!” to “Make our beds ?!?!” and “Brush our teeth…No, I already do that at night.” This is brainstorming time; let the ideas flow…especially from the children. They know what needs doing; they have heard you say it over and over again.
Next we decided together which tasks NEED doing in the morning, when we feel groggy and possibly move slowly, and which ones can be completed the night before. We classified “Getting parent’s signature,” “Getting school stuff ready,” and “Choosing clothes” among the evening jobs.
Finally, we put it into practice. What liberty for me! When the tykes came complaining that their bathing suits were still wet (and now smelling) from last week’s swimming class, I could truly sympathize AND remind them that we wash swimwear the night before. Discomfort is a bummer, but not the end of their world. Repeating myself again and again is the end of my sanity. You bet they remembered the following week :).
These Positive Routine Picto’s also helped my husband and I coordinate our messages. At first he questioned this process…until the week we had several morning signature requests. The kids turned to their Dad for these because they knew I merely pointed to the Positive Routine Picto and gladly accepted to sign their paper that evening. Finally he burst out, “No more signing in the morning for me either!” The kids accepted it. After all, these were their rules too.
These Positive Routine Picto’s were such a success that I developed a workshop specifically to bring parents and children together to create their own. In these photos I love how one child revels in the full attention from all of the family members and how the boys and girls proudly display THEIR routines. Parents shared delightful feedback. One girl was showing hers off to a friend, who then told her mom, and the friend’s mom requested to take it home. Another shared how, after the good-night routine, she noticed the light switch back on in her 3 year old’s room. “Mommy, I forgot to choose my clothes for tomorrow.”
Our boys are now growing up and leaving home. It’s a thrill and a solace to see them go forward with the life skills they need to make a life and a living. And they tell it to me straight: “Mom, when you stopped trying to be perfect, that’s when you were a great mom.”
May you and yours keep growing and growing together.
Denise Dampierre is the author of www.home-is-fun.com blog, a Harvard MBA, the mother of 4 boys, a trainer in Positive Discipline, and an American still married to a Frenchman after 20+ years! She would be delighted to answer your questions on Positive Discipline (email@example.com). You can also find out more on the associations’ sites: www.positivediscipline.com in English and www.disciplinepositive.fr in French. This fall, Denise will be leading parenting classes in both English and in French. You can also find her training professionals on building healthy relationships using these same positive principles. After all, “People make the world go round” both at home and at work.