Do You Want a Do-Over?
by Karen H. Whiting
It’s a New Year and you want a New Family Life with order, routine, and togetherness. There’s hope! God started with chaos to create the universe! Peter denied Jesus, yet received a second chance and became our first Pope.
Work on each area that needs change.
Routines and time
Hang up a huge wall calendar.
Fill in scheduled activities. Use a different color for each person.
Fill in times for family clean-up days and special fun activities.
Figure out the best times to eat together, or at least share a snack.
Set new bedtimes and morning wake-up times.
Evaluate what needs to be done. Note areas where clutter accumulates and find containers or shelves to help organize these spots.
Scout out containers and storage units that will help organize.
Cut down clutter by getting rid of stuff. It’s national poverty month so give away 5-10% of clothes and toys.
Schedule minutes to keep things in place. An extra ten minutes each morning and evening is time to make a bed, put away clothes, pack the backpack for the next day, and clean up toys.
Hold off dessert and snacks until chores are done. No time for work means no time for fun.
Choose to eat together, without distractions, as often as possible. Turn off TV and let answering machines do their job.
You may need a flexible eating time. Consider a picnic at the kid’s game, tailgate meal, or late night dessert. Get creative!
Make eating fun and worthwhile. Catch up on everyone’s life. Ask and listen to what each person did that day and what projects are coming up.
Think of positive discussion topics. Read a joke to add smiles. Share childhood memories as children enjoy hearing how their parents acted as youngsters.
Connect with meetings
Set up family meetings to share visions, discuss plans for fun, and handle problems.
Don’t overwhelm anyone with too much at once. Discuss one problem each person is having and brainstorm solutions.
Use the time to praise each person. Find a reason to praise each family member, even if it’s for good looks or hard effort.
For elementary ages
Understand youngsters are still learning time concepts. Set timers to discover how fast they can do tasks.
A messy room can overwhelm children. Assign cleanup in steps (i.e. put away all clothes, then the cars, and then the books).
Give middle-schoolers more responsibility on setting schedules, maintaining bedrooms, adding dates to the calendar, and setting up carpool rides. Help them make cleanup action plans. Let them choose the time to do their chores.
Everything breaks down: routines, eating habits, housework, schedules, etc. Don’t feel bad. It’s the natural order of things. Embrace re-organizing instead. There’s always another chance to get it right. Rejoice! Our god is the God of second chances!