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MORNING COFFEE

3 ways to avoid meltdowns


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Let's make no mistake, family night is not just about sharing the glorious, picturesque moments of being a family, they're about creating a healthy family culture— and that takes work.

Sure, there will be plenty of Norman Rockwell scenes as you develop your family nights, but along the way I can pretty much guarantee a few scene's from Alfred Hitchcock's famous horror show, "The Birds."

In many cases you are establishing your family rules, presenting your families values and belief systems, and developing your family culture for the first time. That means everything that's been in place up to this point will be challenged under the new administration. Change is hard and usually highly resisted... unless... the reward of fun out-ways the panic of change!

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you come to the final weeks of Caveman Rock.

  • Keep it light by not pushing to see instant results Think of family night as a time to plant seeds. Gently drop the ideas and concepts into the fertile ground the family night atmosphere creates, then let the seed do the work. If you keep the seed (the concept) protected by showing you value it in your home and watered by keeping incorporating it into your routines and habits, it will grow. In fact, most of your deepest conversation will most likely take place in the days or weeks after a concept has been introduced in family night. This is good. It means your children are processing the information through their own internal grid.

  • Keep it peaceful by anticipating your children's needs Mom's, I hate to say this, but most child meltdowns can be avoided simply by anticipating your child's needs. For example, family night at 9:00 at night is not going to work. Your children have no emotional reserves. You have to anticipate when their emotional clocks check out. Some might have family night from 5:00-6:00 on a Sunday afternoon. Others, might be okay with 6:00-8:00 on a Monday evening. You might need to try out a few different scenarios to find the sweet spot.

  • Keep it organized with advanced preparation It doesn't take a lot of prep to pull off a meltdown free family night, but it does take some. Children need order and structure, and once you've established that kind of framework you can be highly flexible. Everything I give you for family night is up to your discretion. If your children hate science/art projects, don't do them. It's that simple. I'd personally try all the pieces but modify or substitute them to meet your families unique interests. If you have a family of all boys, you might need more physical activities. If you have all girls, you might need more crafts. But don't let what you think your children want and need fool you. There are plenty of girls who need high energy activities and just as many boys who are highly crafty. Again, experiment until you find the mix and balance that works for your home.

Together, we can do this,

Deanna

It's time to come home.

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