I went to a retreat on Saturday given by the amazing Carrie Contey, my co-creator in this Slow Family endeavor who now has a beautiful program of her own. She had everybody trouble shooting, with a dose of exploration and experimentation, various parenting issues that came up. One parent talked about how his child really had difficulty with transitions and that the child really resisted these changes. He realized that part of the difficulty was in the fact that the child felt unaware of what lie ahead. “It was like he had no travel itinerary for his own day.”
Head smack for me. OF COURSE!
Imagine going on a trip without knowing what your plans were or what flight you were on or what time your tour started or whether you’d be scuba diving or mountain climbing? Imagine if right before you were about to embark on any portion of it someone rushed in and said, “Okay, come on, get your gear, let’s go! AND HURRY!”
It seems sort of absurd. But really that’s kind of what we do to kids a lot. I try to give ample warning time for things but it doesn’t always happen. I try to keep everyone informed but with 6 people in the house I sometimes end up telling one person twice and another not at all. I try to let them know what’s coming but honestly sometimes I expect people to live inside my head.
But this reminder from this dad about the importance of keeping people informed made me break out the family calendar and start writing things down. Sure I’ve got my electronic calendar but that’s more for me. And we’re not fully-family-tech yet to have a shared electronic calendar. But what we do have is a big giant paper calendar hanging on the wall. It is a great tool. When we use it. And can definitely serve as our family’s travel itinerary from week to week.
So I took it down the other day and sat down with my 10 year old secretary and entered in all the things coming up in the months ahead. And with just that simple gesture, we should have a bit more of a smooth sail, or plane ride, or road trip – depending on what’s on the agenda. Our own family travel itinerary which should make our travel and transitions way easier.