It is still early in the school calendar, and already some things are bothering you at home. You backed over a backpack left in the driveway. You tripped over the shoes in the entry when you came in from work. In the middle of the night you heard the “ping” of a text message on a child’s phone. Where does it all end?
It can end when you set a few “non-negotiable” priorities at home. As the name implies, there is no negotiating these requirements. Many are health or safety issues. Some are just a matter of priority. The priorities are very important, and there are just a few so they are easily remembered.
Have everyone contribute one or two points that are their “non-negotiables.” Your daughter might have as a priority being at soccer practice twice a week. Your son may want enough hot water for a 20-minute shower in the morning. Mom might want a shoe-free zone around the front door. Another parent may say no electronics after 9:00 p.m. A family priority could be eating together on two nights per week, or homework is done before free time.
Come together as a family and list a “non-negotiable” priority for each person. Some might be resolved immediately when family members recognize that it is easy to come in through the garage and leave shoes there, for example. Or that everyone would feel better if they could sleep all night without being awakened by “pinging” noises. In case anyone is tempted, cell phones will be given to parents at 10:00 p.m. The daughter might be less anxious about how late a parent is working if arrangements are always in place to get her to soccer practice on time. The male teenager in the family may be less cranky with a hot shower in the morning.
Try setting a few priorities, and let me know what happens!