We all want to know what we can expect when we're entering a new situation — who will be there? What's expected of us? Our kids are no different.
Every month I go to a nurse who shoots me in the butt with an enormous needle full of medication that causes my ovaries to shut down, so that they don't produce hormones that might cause my cancer to come back. This is not a fun experience, and I dread it.
The only thing that makes it positive for me is that the nurse who gives me the shot is awesome. She's so cool. And this week we were talking about how our kids coped with returning to school... Because in our area, our kids have been exclusively learning from home this entire time, and they just recently returned to school in person.
She told me that she bought my book, "What Happens When School Starts Again" online and had used it to prepare her kids for going back to school. She shared that her husband was really impressed that she was reading them this book and that she found it to be really helpful for preparing them for what school was going to be like.
And she she said to me, "you know, my husband didn't really think about it. He was just going to drop them off at school."
I said, "I think most parents are doing that, because we don't realize that our kids really want to be prepared for things."
She said, "nobody likes to be surprised. I don't want to walk into a room and not have any idea what's going to happen. Of course kids are the same."
And I thought, "yeah, of course kids are the same, but we don't often think about that." And so I just wanted to talk a little bit today about what kinds of things we need to prepare our kids for. Because we basically need to prepare them for everything. It helps so much with behavioral issues. When you are going into a restaurant and you just expect your kids to remember how to behave in a restaurant ... they're not going to remember. So preparing them beforehand by saying, "OK, we're going into a restaurant. And remember, at restaurants, we don't get up and like run around the other tables. We sit quietly in our seats and they will give you coloring books and crayons. And I've brought your iPad and you can play games on it. But we're not going to be yelling. We're not going to be bouncing in the seats."
By doing this, you're preparing them for what your expectations are for their behavior. The same thing goes if you're going into a library. Like, are they going to remember that they need to use quiet voices if we don't prepare them? Probably not. So these kinds of things that we're doing to prepare our kids for what we expect their behavior to be, I think is something it's really easy for us to forget.
It also goes for changes. If you're about to start winter break, for example (my daughter always struggled with that), just name it and say, "you know, sometimes our school breaks can be really fun and that we don't have to go to school. But they can also be kind of hard in that we don't have the same routines that we usually have, and we maybe don't know what to expect out of each day.
"Or we might have family coming to visit. And that's not something that we usually have to deal with. Maybe there are different expectations for the way that you're going to behave. I just want you to know that you can prepare yourself for things being a little bit different than they normally are. And that it's OK if it's fun *and* it's a little bit hard."
The conversation I had yesterday really made me realize how easy it is to forget that our kids don't have the context to know what is going to happen, what they can expect out of different things, and that it's really important that we prepare them for it. So I hope this has been a helpful reminder to you, and I would love to chat with you about it. So if you want to shoot me a message, I'm on Instagram @mightyandbrightco, or you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.