You can’t have what you don’t plan for
When you’re getting ready for a trip, do you take the time to plan out what to bring with you and what you’re going to do?
When my kids were little, we often took them to the beach. We would get all packed up, and invariably once we were there I would have forgotten something — a garbage bag, the sunblock stick for the nose, the baby powder to get the sand off the kids before a fresh diaper at the end of the day… it would vary by the week.
It drove me crazy until I finally put a checklist on my phone and got one of those bags with pockets all around the outside that I kept packed with all of the stuff that we used. Before we would leave, I would check the list to make sure that I had everything. The checklist made sure that we weren’t scrambling later because I had missed something. Once I started planning ahead for what I wanted it made things so much smoother and easier.
This is really similar to the work that I do with clients now. We discuss what’s driving them crazy or what they want that they don’t have, and we start planning for it. We cover the practical logistics of planning ahead, as well as the parenting strategies that they will use.
I had one Mom who said that the ride home from extended care at the end of the day was a nightmare and she dreaded it. The kids would fight, she would yell, and everyone would be upset by the time they arrived home.
So we mapped out some practical strategies for keeping a bin with water and snacks in the car. She came up with the idea of having one of their favorite songs keyed up and ready to play and we brainstormed to have a couple of games that they could play in the car and things they might talk about.
We also discussed strategies for calming the kids down while driving should things escalate, and we talked about what she could do to remain calm herself.
Once she planned ahead of time for the calmer car ride home it went so much better. It didn’t mean that things were perfect every day and the kids would still fight some days, but she was now confident that she could handle it when they did. She stopped dreading that time with her kids and started looking forward to it.
I had another busy working Mom of three who wanted to feel more connected to her kids. Between work and all of the kid’s activities, she felt like they were constantly on the go. What she really wanted was more unscheduled downtime with them — time to just be and time to connect. But whenever she wasn’t working or taking the kids somewhere, she felt like she needed to be doing things at home.
So I recommended that she plan for downtime and schedule it on her calendar.
To this day I remember the look of realization that came over her face. It seemed counterintuitive to plan out unscheduled downtime, but you can’t have what you don’t plan for.
And by scheduling it out on her calendar, she wouldn’t feel like she should be doing something else. She could enjoy the time with her kids because she had scheduled it, and she was doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing at that time.
The Mom started planning for downtime with each of her children individually, as well as times together. We also added a couple of communication strategies to her parenting toolbox that led to deeper conversations, and she finally felt that stronger connection with her kids that she was craving.
With how busy we are as parents and families, we are not likely to get what we want if we don’t intentionally plan for it.
What do you want that you don’t have right now?
Do you want to decrease the fights and frustration, and enjoy more of the time you have with your kids?
Do you want to feel more confident that you can handle the challenges as they come up?
How can you intentionally start planning to have more of what you want?
If you want to get there faster and easier, consider working with a coach! Don’t know one? I would be honored to be yours. I work together with clients to take the guesswork out of parenting and help them plan so they get more of what they want. When you’re ready to 10x your parenting skills and confidence, line up a free call to learn more.
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