Saturday, August 3, 2013

Real Life Personal Responsibility: What I Could Have Done to Make Our First Day of School Better

Yesterday I shared about my belief that most disappointing behaviors we observe in our children can be traced back to a downfall on the part of the parents.  Today I'm going to give you a simple example.

Thursday was our first day back to school.  I had been doing a lot of thinking about how I wanted things to go as far as a schedule, goals, etc.  However, the only thing I told my boys was that school was starting the next day, and I would probably be waking them up at 9am.  (We are spending the first week+ easing into our schedule.  We'll eventually be up earlier.)

First glitch of the day:

I woke up earlier than expected, so I woke up the boys earlier than they expected.  And I had one person who was, justifiably, bleary-eyed and asking, "Why are you waking me up now?  I thought I could sleep til 9."

Yes.  He's right.  And I apologized for the surprise earlier waking time.

Things I could have done to make it better:

1.  Been less specific about the wake up time.
2.  Chosen to not wake him til 9, since that is what I originally said I would do.

My kids are flexible, but they like to sleep in, too.  :)

Second glitch of the day:

I wanted the boys to follow a specific schedule that included some chores before school time.  This is not how they have been doing things for quite some time, so they did not expect it.  A couple of the kids were not happy with my expectation that they would do chores right after breakfast, and one child in particular got pretty frustrated about it because his area was already pretty clean, and he was already getting sidetracked into the wild and wonderful world of Legos.  There was a not-nice interaction between this kiddo and me, which, when boiled down, was a clash of expectations.

What I could have done better:

1.  I could have explained my new schedule goals with my boys before it was Day 1.  (Why didn't I think of that?!)  If they had fully understood the how and why to my plan, they would have been ready to go without much (if any) resistance.

2.  I could have been more patient in taking time to help my one especially frustrated child.  His room was already pretty nice, and he was not really sure how to take care of the one area I pointed out to him.  I had chosen to try to spend the chore time actually doing my own chores, and so I didn't take the time to lead my child, and he needed it.  It would have been better if I had set aside my own wish to straighten up my bedroom, and instead helped my son in a kinder, gentler, more productive way.

What I did:

After lunch I did take some time to talk to the boys about my wish for our schedule, about how well this approach had worked for us in the past, and the benefits I felt it would provide for us.  We talked about some chore specifics, and ideas for additional things to do in their chore areas when the regular-and-obvious things were already done.  They were all perfectly agreeable to the plan, and I'm pretty sure that things will go more smoothly now that they know what the goal is.

What do you think?  Do you have a real-life situation that you need help figuring out how this would work?

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