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Ever taken your kids into public – a grocery store or restaurant – then they act wild and crazy, spilling and throwing things… and don’t forget the yelling?! But, did you actually provoke those meltdowns? It CAN stop!
Okay, so picture this: It’s Saturday morning and you’re at the checkout in the grocery store. In the line next to you, there is a mom with 3 kids. One kid is standing in front of the candy shelf saying, “MOOOMMMM, can I have some candy? PLEEEEASE???” When Mom says no, he starts crying and pitching a fit screaming, “You’re mean!!! I don’t like you anymore!” It looks a little like this:
The other two kids are screaming at each other, still arguing about the best kind of cereal and tugging on Mom’s arm, begging her to get both of their favorites. She finally caves in and says, “FINE! Go get it,” just to avoid another grocery store scene. Both kids take off running, at full speed, back to the cereal aisle. Mom looks around, totally embarrassed by her kids’ behavior. Frazzled and humiliated, she finishes checking out and leaves the store as quickly as possible.
We’ve all seen it before. If you have kids, you’ve probably experienced it yourself. So why does this happen? Three words: lack of preparation.
If you take your kids out in public (like to a grocery store or restaurant) without preparing them, then you basically tell them anything goes! They act wild and crazy, spilling and throwing things… and, of course there’s the yelling. But you did nothing to avoid those meltdowns. In fact, you actually provoked the situation by failing to prepare your children ahead of time.
It’s important to talk to your kids about situations and behaviors – before they face them. All children want to succeed, and all children want to please their parents. When you prepare them for a situation they are about to walk into, you set them up for success… instead of failure.
So, here’s how I’ve handled it…
When our kids were young, anytime we took them anywhere, whether it was a restaurant, doctor’s office, grocery store, church, or any other public place, we used a few super-simple steps to prepare them.
First, we had a “Pre-Game Talk.” This let them know what they were about to experience and laid out the guidelines they expected them to follow. In this talk, we made sure they understood where we were going and what the environment would be (a fancy restaurant? hotel? airport? friend’s house?); who would be there (mostly kids? adults? kind of people would they encounter?); and what their conduct should be (quiet? inside voices? good manners? patient?).
I encouraged them, telling them, “I’m so proud of you. We are going to have a great time! I am confident you can follow directions, obey and set a great example for others to follow, just as you have done in the past.” I also let them know the consequences if they did not obey.
And guess what? They did exactly as they were asked to do!
After we left, we had another talk – a “Post-Game Talk”… equally as important as the pre-game talk. This is when we celebrated their success! “You guys did great! Thank you for following directions!” I verbally reward the behaviors I want to see more. I told them they honored me by following directions and encouraged each of them, individually, for their achievements and efforts.
And what was the result? Their excitement levels went through the roof, and when the next opportunity to be in a public setting came around, they’re ready to do it all again!
This situation differs dramatically from the one I described at the beginning of this message, wouldn’t you agree?
Do you see the importance of communicating with your children? They really do want to please you. They really do want to succeed. And if you prepare and motivate them beforehand, they will step up and do the right thing.
Preparing our children to respond properly in different environments teaches them how to honor us, themselves and those who share their environment. This sets them up for success. How? They get trained to look ahead, make decisions and plan their time wisely.
As our kids got older, they knew what we expected of them. I didn’t have to worry about them running around, begging for things in the grocery store, being loud and obnoxious or dishonoring in public. They were set up for success from a young age and they consistently rose to the occasion.
And here’s the kicker… this doesn’t just apply to kids! This goes for adults, too. Can you imagine if the people in your company knew the proper way to respond – instead of flying off the handle and saying something stupid or walking away because of some big fat ego trip?
Imagine if you were raised this way. Imagine how much more successful you could be if you knew how to look ahead at what you’re about to walk into, instead of blindly stumbling into a situation and reacting inappropriately. I’m here to tell you, it’s not too late!
The information put into your hands today can change everything! This helped to shape our family, our companies and our community. We’ve heard so many stories from people who used this strategy with their own kids, their students, their staff or coworkers and their entire organizations. I can’t wait to hear your results! Please let me know your thoughts and how The Daily Fix worked for you… just leave me your comments below.
Please take a minute to email this to every parent, grandparent, teacher or babysitter you know. Send it to your friends, family and coworkers. Share it on Facebook and Twitter. Print it out and give it to the parents of your kids’ friends. Get the message out there! Together, we are going to groom our families, companies and communities for success!
And remember to join me today for The Dani Johnson Show to grow your bank of success strategies! Tune in on your TV and radio and please remember you can always stream today’s show right here on our website.
In great faith,
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