My husband took off work early today so we could travel to a Monster Truck show. After paying a highway toll, paying to park at the venue and walking half a mile to the entrance, we learned that the cost of purchasing tickets at the location (as opposed to online) were more expensive than we anticipated. I turned to him and asked, “Are you sure we should do this?” We stepped out of line and discussed the options. As a single income family, we try to spend our money wisely. Would this afternoon show be a wise investment?
After a brief discussion, we decided to pursue a more affordable family activity. After driving through a local town, we ended up driving back to our hometown where we landed at the miniature golf course. Hubby instructed our children on the proper stance for hitting the ball and how we need to wait for everyone to finish the hole (somehow, the most impatient person in our family putted first, and Mom was designated to putt last).
While we missed out on an adventure we were all looking forward to, we found an even greater blessing as we spent quality time together. I felt proud of my children who willingly agreed to a change in plans.
Unfortunately, not every plan change goes as well. I have learned the hard way that my children need advance warning before an unexpected change in plan. I have to warn them before transitions. For instance, every school morning, they hear, “Five more minutes until school starts!” I also try not to plan our day in detail. I tell them the subjects we need to cover, but I leave plenty of time for unexpected bad moods, play dates, errands, calls from family members or a myriad of other interruptions.
The timer is a great tool we use throughout the day. It marks the start of play time, the end of online game time, the start of class time and the end of clean up time. And we all love the timer that signals cookies are finished baking!
While I cannot guarantee every transition goes smoothly or that every disappointment ends in smiles, I know the personalities of my children. This knowledge heIps us adjust to unexpected changes and bumps in the road. With the tools we need to navigate change, my students at home are learning an invaluable life skill that will benefits all of us.
What techniques have you learned for handling disappointment? How do you transition your family between activities? Here’s hoping your transitions go smoothly and your family smiles at every change in plan.