Monday, November 18, 2019

Tried and True, Something New

There are some parenting hacks that work so well for me that I see no need to mix it up.

Girls lusting after something in a store, and I can tell the begging is near? We take a picture and add it to their "wish list".

Arguing over turns? Set a timer.

I like that I've settled on solutions that work for us. I know how to keep my kids - mostly - running pretty smoothly.

But then, I've noticed that sometimes, mixing it up with something new is exactly what I need.

For example, I feel pretty confident with long drives. The girls are accustomed to 1-2 hour trips - we make them to visit family, we make them for homeschool field trips, we make them for dance. This is standard, and we're all pretty good at knowing exactly how to make the drive go smoothly. We know what to pack in the girls' bags, we know what snacks we'll need, we know how to handle rest stops.

But when something changes, I need to adjust. Maybe it's what time of day we're driving, maybe it's distance, maybe it's why we're traveling, but something needs to change to make the trip go smoothly.

We hit into this the other week. It was super early in the morning and we were driving the full length of the state. Just me and the girls, since it was for a dance thing (shocking, right?) It was the worst drive we'd made in ages. They bickered over chargers and who needed which cable more. They didn't have water. They didn't have anything they wanted to eat. They needed bathroom stop after bathroom stop (which was bizarre, considering the beverage situation). They were asking how long until we got there. They were just feeding off of each other, and I was completely unprepared and annoyed.

So, while they danced all day, I hit the local shop and I mixed it up. I got snacks. I got color coded cables. I even hit the dollar spot and got some new trinkets, which I packaged "blind bag" style to add excitement and novelty. I mapped out when I'd be willing to stop. When they climbed into the car that night, I filled them in on the changes, and, whether in spite of, or because of them, the ride home was easy, and they were happy.

Tried and true is the way to go, but when something changes things, don't fight. Time to go with something new.
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