Setting Up Family Schedules
Have you been feeling like you are sliding into home plate through September trying to keep up with all the schedules? Summer Bliss can feel like a lost memory real fast! Personally, I love the energy that September brings… friendships returning… the smell of new books, sorting out schedules, choosing or re-choosing activities… fresh air that comes with the mix of weather…turning of leaves and the colours of nature… September can feel awesome or dreaded… its your choice. You can skip the chaos and feel more in control this year. Here are 5 ways to support your family good VIBES.
Value your time. You might start with master family schedule as a whole family team. Consider the demands of each activity. If you have more than one child, how many activities per child do you really want to choose? For many families, it works to set a rule of one activity per child. This keeps everyone on the sane side of silly and stops you and your family from keeping up with the Jones’.
Less activities mean more creativity in your family. The creative centers of our brain function optimally when we keep our stress levels moderate. Choosing a less hectic family schedule means your family enjoys some free time and an overall healthy sense of personal control. You might start with a family discussion at dinner tonight. You might then follow up with posting a family calendar somewhere central like your kitchen or electronically with a family google calendar. You really can choose life by your design! Everyone in the family should have the opportunity to weigh in on aligning the family schedule. What one thing feels most important to each member of your family? In the discussion, see if there is a way of creating time to support that goal. These family discussions become patterns for generations in the future. So if your child has been feeling left out, he/she might choose a team sport like soccer. If he/she has been feeling stressed, he/she might choose to play a musical instrument.
The seeds of self-esteem come from feeling seen in our relationships and mattering to those who matter to us. Don’t under-estimate the value of your free time together. Unschedule your schedule and watch your relationships improve. Quality time with you can be a foundational expression of mattering for years to come. Quality time you and your children have together in the early years sets up secure attachments for them in the future. Knowing this fundamental truth can prevent anxiety, inter-personal bullying, challenges in learning and future patterns of addiction.
“I” matters. This is a great month to set up a ritual that supports everyone’s dream within the family. Questions such as “what is important for you this year?” “What are you most proud of from last year?” This focuses everyone’s attention and intention. As you define needs and set up your schedule and align it as much as possible with others in your family, you are also setting up a life and living template for generations to come.
You might start with your morning routine, including the morning family chores. Barbara Colorosa, (Kids R Worth It) talks about chores leading to greater membership in the family and therefore self-esteem. Morning routines contribute to good vibes for the future, as everyone is learning life skills and caring for each other moving forward. Live the life of your dreams starting with every morning. “Never stop dreaming”. I found Hal Elrod’s book Miracle Morning a great motivator for creativity and intentionality. You may want to check out his youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0uRp7BoPVY Bottom line is to not let yourself become a passive participant this year. Don’t let your day just evolve.
Live your life by shared family design…for today and tomorrow.
We have the capacity for choice and agency. What I’ve found is that when clients have something specific that they are focused on, they achieve the desired change quite easily. As a parent or as a human being, what area of your life needs more determined focus? If you gave 4 quadrants a score of 0-10 (where 10 is 100%), how fulfilled do you feel today physically, relationally, professionally, or financially? Your focus might change every day, but whatever you focus on, you will get positive result in.
Intention + Attention = Outcome
Be present to notice how much your life and family is supporting you. Notice the good moments and share them with your family and your friends. As you promote each other, you will start to notice a positivity ripple effect. There is endless research that supports the evidence that gratitude positively influences happiness, longevity, and connection to others. With the pandemic, many have reported feeling more anxiety and isolation… Taking care to encourage good vibes, everyone benefits.
End conflict as soon as possible. When confusion shows up, take the earliest opportunity to clear and repair the relationship. Conflict is stressful and detracts from good VIBES. The more you model healthy dialogue in your family, the more your children will be empowered at school to do the same. The sandwich model for difficult conversations really works. Say something affirming, then the issue, then follow up with something affirming resulting from the conversation. Give time for both of you to feel complete in expressing the issues and the resolution. If it’s not possible to resolve in the moment because it feels too charged and you aren’t resourced enough to deal with it, set a time to come back to the conversation later. My grandmother always used to talk about never going to sleep with anything that feels unfinished. She was totally right… although what I know from 25 years of professional practice, sometimes we all just need to put it up to the Universe and trust that life is happening and with time, everything works out as it should.
The one thing you control in your life the most is you and your own good VIBES!