Whoohoo! I did it!!
We recently went on a family adventure to the local rock pools. Fresh, cool water running down moss-bedded rocks is a fabulous change from the salt, sand and surf - our normal summer holiday “go-to”.
Family outings are fantastic for me on many levels. I love hanging out just the five of us. Extended car journeys can make for some interesting family discussions and I usually come away with an idea and some great images for my blog!
When sifting through the videos for this particular adventure, I came across one video that mixed up proud and guilty all in one …
Master Four celebrating a small win! I hadn’t noticed him and his little achievement in the moment (guilt) but was rather chuffed he was able to congratulate himself at the time (pride).
You see I’m on a mission of change, discovery and achievement with my little team of five. It’s the reason I started blogging, emailing and reaching out to people just like you!
Last week I wrote all about the importance of good preparation for anything worthwhile. This week I’m going to expand a little.
I’ve found that sitting down for a family discussion really helps the kids wrap their heads around anything new. You can help them see how things will work and address any questions or concerns they may have in a calm and loving manner. It’s much more constructive than blurting out short, sharp instructions as you’re racing out the door (I’m definitely guilty of this one). And it gives the children a sense of belonging and ownership of family decisions.
In this discussion I try to remember to celebrate the small wins just like Master Four and his small jump! I also make an effort to embrace the differing needs and opinions of each member of the family. Navigating through differences is a skill to be learned in life, and while mum and dad remain the leaders of our family, we try to value our little people’s ideas and help them understand the pros and cons of implementing them in the real world. This is much easier to do in a discussion than it is while the activity is unfolding. Encouraging interaction amongst siblings is also important during these discussions. It can be extremely frustrating, but negotiating skills will serve them well in later life. Above all, opening up a forum for open, honest and safe family discussions, is something I will continue into the teenage years to provide my kids with somewhere to comfortably voice anything that is troubling them as they cruise on into adult life.
There’s a few things I avoid during our kids’ meetings too. First and foremost, screens. No TV, no phones, no iPads, no smart watches, no desktops, no laptops. Just good old fashion conversation and a notepad and pen. This rule is for everyone - especially mum and dad! I try to time the family discussion just after lunch and well before witching hour (you know that time that everyone is a little crazy … it’s about 5pm in our house). I’m wary of how long we sit and chat for too. Master Four’s attention span isn’t the best just yet and keeping the meetings short, sharp and to the point teaches us all to be time-efficient. Again, all these things are great life skills to learn as well as good boundaries to put in place before the kids hit those teenage years.
So next time you have a change, an adventure or activity coming up, I encourage you to call a family meeting and get the kids involved! Gather up a notebook and pen for each person and create a ‘Tech Box’ to leave all your screens in, and find out what your kids have to say!
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I’d love to hear how you go! Please do send me in your stories or photos of where you have your meetings!
And if you’d like me to expand on any of the tips above let me know that too … they all have a little anecdote attached to them.
~ Just one small change ~