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

Children’s Quarantine Anger

I want to make this short and sweet because if you’re like me, you feel very bombarded with information, and “things you must do”, and “things you must NOT do”, and finishing up schoolwork, and work. Oh and also parenting kids who have been cooped up and wonder why they can’t go to the playground or over to a friend’s house.

Life just feels weird right now. All of our emotions are high…and kids are going to share their emotions in quite a variety of ways…some sweet, some annoying…some whining…some raging. And sometimes you just never know what you’re going to get!

It’s hard. This is hard on all of us. And sometimes it’s easy to get angry or yell.  But there are better strategies…better tools we can use.

1. THE REWIND TOOL

If kids don’t do the right thing the first time, just simply ask them to rewind and try it again. We do not have to allow disrespect or disobedience in our home, but we also don’t have to issue consequences every time they do anything “wrong”. Our kids are learning, so why not give them “on the spot” training and have them do it again. This way they can experience success right away while also knowing that you are not going to allow their inappropriate behavior. By the way, with strong-willed kids, you may have to rewind many, many times. “Nothing else will happen in your day until you choose to try this again respectfully. Thank you.”

2. THE PRACTICE TOOL

The Rewind Tool is great if our kids say something or do something that needs to be done again to get it right. But The Practice Tool is very intentional time you set aside to practice the skills and character traits you want to instill in your kids. You can do this at a Family Meeting each week where you play a Listening and Obeying game. Or before they get on an electronic device, you have them quickly practice what they will say when you say it’s time to turn it off. For kids to get better at things, they need to practice them. Why not have them practice getting better at being obedient or respectful or helpful or kind?

Now is the time to practice better tools and better reactions. The longer we are all cooped up together, the more time we have to teach them better responses and build better relationships with them.  Let’s use this time to our full advantage.

It is my prayer that The Rewind Tool and The Practice Tool brings less anger as well as shorter fits and sweeter moments to your parenting interactions this week! We’re all in this together, parents.

Lord, You know what we each need to be the calm parent You are calling us to be. Bring Your patience and kindness into our homes and Your peace into our hearts. 

Here’s to building better families together–
Christine

For more tools in the Teamwork Parenting Approach, click here.