My ninja trick for Dragon*Con this year was to send my family to Rhode Island, thus clearing up some time to hang out late and get up early, and generally enjoy the Con.
Which I failed entirely to do. I just wasn’t able to spend the time volunteering that I planned to, because the qualifying exams that I thought would end approximately 4 hours before I would pick up Dr. Pamela Gay at the airport actually started 7 hours before I picked up Dr. Gay from the airport, and hence I had to study more and party less.
And now the family is back, and with them has come stress and frustration. It doesn’t help that I spent basically all day Saturday exchanging a broken dryer for a new dryer which broke last night. It does help that my kids are wonderful. But even so, I’m left wondering how a skeptical parent can develop better coping skills to deal with anger and frustration. Over on the Half Full Blog they advise that you develop “mindfullness”, and teach your kids to meditate.
Which is, frankly, insane. Not because it won’t work, but because the frazzled, maddened me that shows up after sleep deprivation meets toddlers is not the best coach in the world, not for me and not for them. By 9 PM, which is when the Grrl arrives back at home, I am frazzled. She’s frazzled and emotionally wounded (the Grrl works in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and sweetness and light fails entirely to reign in the kingdom of my home. So, introducing “mindfullness” at this point seems a little difficult. Usually I try to introduce chocolate, which is cheaper and easier to come by.
It seems like what I really need is an efficiently structured day, an attainable chore list and the will to stick with it. And the science is with me here. A 50 yearlongitudinal study published in 2002 provided compelling evidence that kids and families thrive with routines and rituals, but really, we all already knew that, right?
What that study didn’t address is the question of developing strong routines that get followed by both parents if you have different strengths and different ways of approaching the day. That’s the tough part.
So, my question to the gallery is this: What routines do you follow with your children? Did you make a conscious decision, based on research, to employ these routines, or are you following your family culture? How would you approach setting up routines if there are several very different caregivers?