These last couple of weeks have been a challenge, not gonna lie. There’s been a lot going on for our family on the business, health and self-development fronts. Of course we are finding our way…we always do, and as a united front, which I’m extremely grateful for. It did however get me to reflect on how we handle these things.
Out of this reflection came a few things that may be useful for you and your family as well!
- Smooth Operator
Ok, let’s take them on one at a time.
Seriously, one of the most awesome things you can do to make your parenting life easier is to gamify things. And I’m not just talking about doing this for the kids, although this one works like a charm as well. I’m talking about making things more fun and awesome for OURSELVES. One of our favorite ways to do this in our house is creating code names or our own special way of saying things. Here’s a few examples:
- Code Blue = a pee diaper
- Code Pruttle = poop diaper
- Code Orange = have a situation, need help!
- Our laundry is a “monster” and the more laundry, the higher the level.
- “I’m going upstairs to take on the L3 that’s lurking in the bedroom.”
- “Be aware, there’s a L2 on the bed.”
- “Incoming! Parameter breach imminent!”
- “Boggy at your (x) o’clock.”
- “Do you have eyes?”
- “We’ve got a live one!”
THESE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHAT’S POSSIBLE!
To get inspiration and apply this for yourself in different areas think about: What happens a lot in your household? For example cooking, shopping, going on trips, playground visits etc…
Then ask yourself: What could make this fun/funny for me (and my partner)?
Gamifying things creates fun, lightness and connection. Which in turn, makes our lives EASIER.
We make plans for pretty much every aspect of our lives. And a backup, because as you probably have noticed, life with kids isn’t predictable!
In our household, we make a meal plan (including who cooks), a plan for picking/dropping the kids, evening events and social events. To be clear…these are NOT separate plans! We have one overview on a whiteboard in the kitchen where we can see the plan for the week.
And having an overview creates CLARITY. Not to mention in creating this clarity (in the form of a week planning) we are continually in communication as parents and as partners. We learn how each other’s week will look and get a sense of how our partners are doing. This sometimes can get lost in the craziness of the “daily grind.” Some of the benefits:
- Knowing who is expected to do what;
- Tune-in to each other;
- See the week at a glance;
- Makes weekly shopping easier (can do it in one go).
It’s not necessary to do it all at once of course. Like everything else, I definitely recommend taking things a step at a time!
Even for us, this still doesn’t go perfectly all the time. Take for example my husband who despite us having a meal plan, and confirming it with each other at 3 p.m. lost focus and did something completely different at 5 p.m. 😂
Perfectionism is anyways, not the point here. What is, is that by taking the time and investing the effort in making a plan, we’re saying to each other…our family life is important. Communication with each other is important. And we have a reference to fall back on to see our week at a glance!
3. Smooth Operator
Yup…sometimes a little sneakiness, stealthiness or as I prefer to call it smooooooothness goes a long way. You may be thinking, whaaaaaat? 😱
I thought I was supposed to share information with my kids, keep them in the loop, communicate more, manage expectations etc etc…now you say it’s a good thing to hide things from them? Yes and no.
Let me explain. When it comes to things that have to do with safe, healthy or being well-balanced I have an opinion. All parents do. What in particular falls under these categories may vary from parent to parent and that’s totally fine! The point is that sometimes when we think (or know) something is good for our kids, they may not always be on the same page.
To make it clear, here’s a couple very common examples:
SUGAR, AND SCREEN TIME
🍭 Sugar. Did you know I trained as a hormone balance (aka health) coach? Don’t get me started on my sugar rant…haha. Sugar is in almost EVERYTHING processed. Don’t believe me? Start checking labels 😉
Our bodies literally can’t process the amount the typical person puts in it on a daily basis. It’s one of the reasons lifestyle diseases like diabetes type 2 are on the rise.
Oh, and fun fact: studies have shown that sugar can be more addictive than cocaine! If you were to literally eliminate all processed sugars from your diet, guess what? Nothing bad would happen!!! What’s my point?
That if I were to not give my kids ANY processed sugar AT ALL, they would be fine! Do they like this? Nope. Are they like little crack babies anytime sugar is presented? Yup! 😭
So rather than go into battle with them on a daily basis about whether or not they’re allowed sugar, or try to explain that it’s bad for them and that natures candy (aka fruit)…is waaaay better for them, I use my smoooooth operator skills here.
I “forget” to buy snacks they like that are high in sugar. I buy things that are tasty and low in added sugars AND I have found a lot of awesome recipes for treats that they LOVE and are good for them too.
The result? Waaaaay less food battles, and me feeling happy that my kids are getting less sugar in their little bodies. I do the same thing with veggies too by the way! Sidenote – I will omit telling them what’s in everything, but if they do ask I of course tell them!
🖥 Screen time. This is another one where less is more. My kids will not be worse off with less screen time. Of course there are educational elements with screens. You can argue for language skills and learning via games or online learning platforms. It’s also one of the things in many households that is a source of strife.
Not only that, but let’s face it…it’s sometimes hard for us to regulate ourselves when it comes to screen time too! When was the last time you went a whole day (just one) without your phone? 📳 Had to think about that one right?
This smooth operator mama thinks it’s ok to “lose” the TV remote or iPad or let them run out of battery. This works really well in combination with planning by the way! We have planned in at home for example that the kids get 30 minutes of screen time before dinner every day. And that’s it. We honestly have only deviated from this a couple times since implementing this house rule…and I have to tell you it works! Consistency is key. Waaay less screen time battles in this house and that is a huge relief!
So make use of your smooth operator skills and make life EASIER!
Maybe you’ve noticed by now, but I’m all about making life easier. Which includes making all these tips and hacks easy to remember, and this one’s no exception! So to remember Gamification, Planning and being a Smooth Operator you can use:
Get it? Navigating the landscape of parenting? Ok…well I thought it was at least a bit funny 😅
Now, enough of me…it’s your turn now! I’ve shared some awesome tips here. Your turn to start implementing them in your life!
Remember, you don’t HAVE to go it alone. If you are struggling with knowing where and how to start improving your parenting or lifestyle and want some extra support, I’m here! You can book a session with me here.