Here's the point - sometimes we are so focused on making that child DO their homework, CLEAN their room, STOP fighting with their sibling that we forget all the wonderful, beautiful, beneficial, life affirming and glorious things that can happen when we work our problems from a different angle.
After years in the trenches myself, leading parenting classes and coaching people in their homes we often overlook so very, very many parenting tools. And it's my firm belief that parenting isn't about making your child be something you want them to be, but it's an avenue, a road, a hallway down which we can grow into a new kind of person and create a lifelong relationship with our child. Potty training ends. Sleepovers end. AP Exams end. The relationship with our child never, ever ends.
Combining the un-finishable and amorphous task of parenting with the simple, concrete, definable organizing tasks we can expand BOTH the order and the calm and in our lives. Not all the time, not every moment, but more often then not. The Underused Parenting tools give us a foothold when we are confused, overwhelmed, angry and anxious.
If your four year old is tantruming (again!), if your 8 year old is cutting corners doing their chores, if your teen is doing less then stellar on their AP's and you are losing your mind, at your wits end, about to blow . . . STOP and Menu Plan! Seriously, dinner happens every night. Nutrition is a powerful tool to help with all sorts of undesirable behavior. A fun and relaxed dinner time can set the the tone for a cozy night of homework and chores topped with a quick show or a story.
Do NOT over look this powerful, always useful and sometimes delicious tool.
For specific tips on how to get started, stay motivated and to keep on cookin' check these out:
Pssst . . . success will come once menu planning is a habit. Remember the three parts . . .
Trigger: Ugh! I have to menu plan. Tweak trigger to - Starbucks coffee, 15 minutes of quiet before kids get home from school on Wednesday, imagine next week's dinners virtually cooking themselves.
Action: Menu plan - be realistic, don't over do, plan ahead, make stuff people will eat with a bit of variety. Use themes - breakfast for dinner, meatless monday, etc.
Reward: Ahhhhhhh. . . . . the horrible hour of 4-6 just got lighter, healthier, sillier and I got this dinner thing. Bring. It!