Save Your Sanity during Quarantine

Don’t get me wrong…I’m ALL about family time and as a parenting coach and educator, I always stress to every parent I meet the importance of spending more time with their kids and as a family. Now is a critical time to build those strong relationships with our kids and create memories as a family, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. And being together all day every day under the circumstances we’ve all been through makes it even harder.  But we do the important things even when they are hard, right?

During these close-quarter times, let me share a tool that has saved my family and my sanity…The Rewind Tool.

Because our kids mess up a lot, I mess up a lot, and my husband messes up A LOT (just kidding, honey). In all seriousness, we all mess up a lot. Let’s just be real about that.  And when are all together so much…so, so much…the frequency of the mess ups seem to be much, much for frequent.  Whether it’s a snotty attitude or spilled milk or saying the word “butt crack” one more time even when they’ve been asked repeatedly not to say it, the mistakes are endless and boundless.

But it’s how we handle ourselves in those moments that matters.  In some cases, like the spilled milk, it’s just a simple: “No big deal. Grab a rag and some vinegar spray and clean it up please.”  (little kids might need some teamwork here, but it’s never too early to teach them the responsibility of cleaning up a mess they made).  But with the snotty attitude or the disobedient “butt crack” remark, you have some choices to make.  You can either let them turn it into a big power struggle followed by issuing consequences with fighting and yelling…or you can simply do The Rewind Tool.

The Rewind Tool is POWERFUL.  It’s simple.  It’s on-the-spot training which gives me, my kids, and my husband a chance to try again…to practice getting something right without making it a huge issue.

For the snotty attitude, it’s just a simple:  “Can you please rewind and try that again with respect?” Sometimes it takes more than one rewind, but I don’t give up because it’s the character trait of respect at stake. So I stay calm and keep saying: “Try that again with respect, please.”

When they get it right, I can say: “Thank you for speaking to me respectfully. Remember, we are the Leebs and that’s how we treat each other.”

But kids aren’t the only ones who need The Rewind Tool to get things right.  Parents do too.  One time, my oldest and I let our discussion raise to a level of argument.  We both said some disrespectful and uncalled-for things.  We were both at fault.  He stormed upstairs and slammed his door.  Immediately, I knew that I shouldn’t have escalated like I did.

I gave us both some space and time to cool off and then I went upstairs and said:  “You know what? Neither one of us handled ourselves in a respectful way. Leebs treat others with respect and we didn’t do that, and I’m very sorry for my part.  We let an argument happen instead of our normal discussion. How about we both rewind and try again so we both can get it right…so we both can listen better…so we both can respect what the other person is saying. Sound good?”

One of the best rewind moments in our family to date.

My authority wasn’t lost and our relationship was restored.

During this time of quarantine, The Rewind Tool continues to show its strength and effectiveness…saving our sanity and more importantly, preserving our relationship with our kids.

The Rewind Tool allows our kids to get things right. It allows them the grace to have a do-over. It gives them the opportunity to practice the life skills and character traits that we want them to learn. It frees us from constant punishments or arguments and allows us to be the teacher that our kids need us to be. Because they can try again and again and sometimes again and again to get it right…and so can we!

Lord, thank you that in parenting, there is grace. Thank you that this Rewind Tool reminds us that Your mercies are new for us every day and we can do the same for our kids every day and even every moment. Bring us peace in our parenting as we give our kids the opportunity to be more like You even in times when they mess up. 

Here’s to building better families together–
Christine

3 Ways to Help Our Kids Be Good Mistake-Makers

Spills, homework errors, unmade beds, forgotten backpacks, lost sweatshirts, classroom warnings, and sassy tones.  These are just a few ways my kids have messed up this week alone!

Kids make mistakes!  Heck, we make mistakes too.

It’s hard for this perfectionist to admit, but EVERYONE makes mistakes.  And it’s so important that we teach our kids how to deal with them because they have, do, and always will make them.

3 Ways to Help Our Kids Be Good Mistake-Makers…
1.  Keep a calm voice:  Don’t lose our cool.  As much as we want to yell (and I have made that mistake many times), let’s try to take a deep breath and stay calm.  Sometimes just our reaction alone can create fear and anxiety over mistakes.  They may even try to hide them from us if we go all crazy on them.  Mistakes help them learn.  Mistakes are simply teachable moments.  Let’s repeat that to ourselves over and over.  It certainly helps me!

2.  Use teamwork:  What if they forget their backpack?  Do we rush it to school for them? No. We let them forget it and ask:  “I noticed you forgot your backpack today.  How did you solve that problem?  And how can you solve that problem for tomorrow?  Can I be helpful in any way?”  This puts the problem-solving power on them but also lets them know that you are there to help if they need you!  Kids must learn to figure out how to fix their own mistakes.  Teach them.  Don’t punish them.  Empower them.  Don’t embarrass them.  Oh and my favorite checklists are perfect for helping with forgetfulness by the way.

3.  Admit your own mistakes:  One of the most beautiful things my kids have said to me when I’ve apologized for a mistake I made (which is often, I might add) is:  “It’s OK, Mommy.  Everyone makes mistakes.”  Adults are mistake-makers too and the more kids see how we tell the truth, apologize, and problem-solve to “fix” our mistakes with confidence and without panic, the more they will become great mistake-makers too.

Lord, you call us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32)  As we guide our kids in making mistakes, give us grace to be kind, patience to be tenderhearted, and love to be forgiving.  And always give us the wisdom to teach.  Mistakes help us learn and grow to be more like You!

Here’s to building better families—

Christine