The Holiday season throws more curveballs and new experiences at our kids than a Disneyworld ride. One day we’re cozied up on the couch with hot chocolate, the next we’re all “no sugar! no television!” One weekend we’re at a party where they’re running around with kids and playing all the games, the next we’re at an extra church service where they can’t talk or move. It’s a bit unfair to expect them to adapt to every situation without a little preparation–thats where “the pep talk” comes in.
A year or so ago, whenever we were on our way to a new experience I started giving the kids a pep talk. If we were going to dinner at a restaurant, I’d go over restaurant basics like “do we run in a restaurant? do we yell? do we say thank you sir or ma’am to the waiters and waitresses?”
If we were going to a birthday party, I might say “is it our birthday? who are we celebrating today? do we share with others? do we say please and thank you?”
These little prompts help frame their mind for what their about to walk into. While meltdowns and hype moments still happen sometimes, there’s been a night and day difference since introducing this simple prompt because they know what to expect and what we expect of them. Oshiolema can now do the prompts himself and loves asking the question to O and I while we’re on our way to the destination. When we landed in San Francisco and were driving to my sister and brother in laws, he happily whipped out “do we have a bad attitude? do we say thank you? do we jump on the couch? do we yell inside?” My sides hurt from laughing so hard but I must say, the boy’s got it down!
So before Christmas dinner you might want to give them the rundown- “if you don’t feel comfortable doing ___, you don’t have to, just be respectful” and the one I have to whip out on the daily “we do not talk about poop at the table.”
What little routines do you have with your kids to set the scene before arriving somewhere?