We dream of the magical time of year when our children are home for the winter break. We look forward to fun, memory making experiences with them and then BAM!!
Expectations meet reality.
The kids are home, we’ve got adult things to get done (work, laundry, grocery shopping, meal making, not to mention gift wrapping) and before the frosting is dry on the gingerbread house, we are wondering when school starts again.
You are in luck because one of my favorite things to do is to pass on tools, tricks and strategies that have worked for me to really lead my life rather than feeling like a victim of whatever comes my way. I cannot control anything but with these tools in my toolbox, I can experience more peace and joy in my everyday life.
I am a nature-based coach and often people don’t know how this can help them in their everyday lives. Well, this training has literally changed my life and here are two things that I’ve learned that I’ll share with you to help you survive this holiday season –
Mapping and Tracking
Mapping skills help people to get their bearing in order to know where they are going. Using mapping skills as a parent has been really important for me. I get my bearings by mapping out-
- my needs and the needs of my family and home (errands, chores, work time, time to myself)
- my wants and the wants of my family (outings, time for relaxation, fun, enrichment, etc.)
- what I know about myself – my personality, my natural energy flow during the day,
- what I know about my child – their personality, their natural energy flow during the day
Mapping out the day, week, even month, can help you to meet the needs and wants from above. Creating structure in the form of making a schedule for yourself and your kids actually helps to create time for the unstructured. Having this structure is beneficial for all kids who in my experience tend to like to know where they are going and a general sense of what they are going to be doing. It can be as basic or as detailed as you and/or your children need.
One of my favorite things that always gets plugged into my day is rest time! The one thing most parents feel is exhausted. I also know even having a small amount of time to oneself can help recharge your energy reserve SO include this in your daily routine or schedule.
It’s not nap time, kids don’t have to nap, you don’t have to nap, it’s just an opportunity for everyone to go to their rooms or find a space and be quiet. You can have them, or help them, create bins or a box of things they can do during rest time – books, blocks, anything they can do independently. If YOU want, this could be a time for electronics. I know that I’ve allowed this because I really needed 30 minutes to myself or my patience was going to be non-existent! Start small if necessary. If you haven’t been giving yourself time, even five minutes to sit and do nothing can do wonders!!
Tracking allows you to build your awareness and noticing skills. For me, tracking as a parent is useful for all sorts of situations – the good times and the ones that suck. I utilize three questions that I learned from my mentor Michael Trotta:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What is one thing I can try different to get closer to what I want?
You are doing a million things every day that tell you what works for you and your family. Start noticing those things! They can help you to figure out what to do with those situations that aren’t working. Become an observer and check in with yourself periodically or when you are at your wit’s end to ask yourself these questions.
A very common source of frustration during this time of year is dealing with family dynamics – not MY family of course, but what I hear about other families! 😉
Think about it! We come together, each with our own idea of how things should be, how others should treat us or how how others should behave and BAM! Reality smashes expectations and we get upset. The funny thing about this is that we all usually know how other people are going to be and the craziness that can unfold yet act surprised when it happens…again.
One thing that I LOVE to do that I learned from Martha Beck is to make it into a game. She calls it Dysfunctional Family Bingo but often I just make a mental list of what I think is going to happen and when it does, I’m not surprised or mad, I’m almost excited because it means I was right! If it doesn’t happen, bonus!
Use what you know to take care of yourself – set boundaries, know your truth and remember that often people project their “stuff” onto others.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need help implementing these in your family. I LOVE this stuff and would love to help you if you get stuck. If you do, let me know and we’ll schedule a session to help you get back on track. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love and gratitude,