Morning Checklists: Create with all the children and adults a simple morning visual checklist that includes all the very specific tasks required to get through the morning. Obviously, these are house and person specific, lists but involve the very pragmatic things like brush your teeth that are tracked daily.
Family Meetings: Host a 20 minute Family meeting each week. Keep it simple, allow rituals to be created. Play a simple game followed by the Simple three questions, 1. What went well this week? 2. What did not go so well? What will we agree to work on in the week ahead? Have everyone propose ideas and then vote on the top 2. Have consequences and rewards discussed collaboratively by both adults and kids.
The 5 Keys to Being an Agile Family:
- Solutions to problems are out there for those who wish to be creative and collaborative in finding them.
- Empower the Children to set their own schedules, punishments, goals, progress, and punishments.
- Parents are not perfect. To the degree possible give everyone an equal say.
- Make the meeting a safe zone for conflicts to be raised and shared.
- Build in flexibility to change and adapt the meetings rules.
Create a Family Brand and Mission
Brand: In the spirit and belief that knowing who you are helps guide you. Find some concise phrasing and an actual family logo. One example from the book is, “May your first word be adventure and your last word be love.” The family image/logo or crest being a Nautilus seashell)
Mission: These four questions might best hone down the mission of the family.
- What words best describe our family? 2. What is most important to our family? 3. What are our strengths as a family? 4. What sayings best capture our family?
Suggestions for the mission statement include make it authentic, concise, positive, and with an emphasis on what the family should do? Make the effort to create it a special event or process, and display the result in a prominent place.
Develop a Strong Family Narrative. It is important that people feel themselves a part of something if the Brand and Mission guide you forward, the family narrative guides us moving backwards. These stories of successes and hardships bind us across generations can bring strength and resilience. Asking a series of do you know questions can help flesh out your narrative. This “Do You Know” scale was developed by Marshall Duke and Robyn Fivush.
- Do you know how your parents met? 2. Do you know where your mother grew up? 3. Do you know where your father grew up? 4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up? 5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met? 6. Do you know where your parents were married? 7. Do you know what went on when you were being born? 8. Do you know the source of your name? 9. Do you know some of the things that happened when your brothers or sisters were being born? 10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like? 11. Do you know the person in your family you act most like? 12. Do you know some of the accidents and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger? 14. Do you know some things that happened to your Mom or Dad when you were in school? 15. Do you know the national background of your family i.e. Russian, or Irish? 16. Do you know some of the jobs your parents had when they were young? 17. Do you know some of the rewards your parents received when they were young? 18. Do you know some of the names of the schools your Mom went to when she was young? 19. Do you know some of the names of the schools your Mom went to when she was young? 20. Do you know about a relative whose face “froze” in a grumpy position because they did not smile enough?