This column is written by Mental Fitness Center, a contributor to OaklandCountyMoms.com.
You have attended the parenting classes… all of the best ones out there. You’ve learned so many great strategies and they really sound like they will work in your home. You took notes, you read books, you even watch “The Supernanny.” You are excited to implement all that you have learned…and then you step back into your busy, family life!
What happens? Why does it become so difficult to make change happen at home ? You wonder “Why can’t my family follow through?” “ What is wrong with them?” “What is wrong with me?”
Whether you are trying to balance the hectic schedule of a working family or juggling the needs of an active one, most families these days are so busy that it is difficult to find time to make the simplest of changes. Before you know it, the great new strategies you were once excited about, become the chore you “should” do, but never do!
When we decide to make a change we want that change to happen fast. We want it to fit into our lives effortlessly. We hope that somehow there will be more hours in the day and more days in the week. We want to be on the other side of change, already enjoying the fruits of our labor. But often before we even begin, we have sabotaged our success by biting off more than we can chew.
If this all sounds too familiar, do not fear. You can achieve “Supernanny” success in your home too. Here are some tips and advice on how you can achieve Supernanny success in your home too
- Alter your action. Remember that the TV show families were successful for many reasons. But most important, they worked hard, really hard. And you already work hard too! But it may be time to redistribute that energy. If you change your focus, be sure to shift your energy as well. Remind yourself that all the hard work going into this transition will actually make things a little easier when you get to the other side. Create a mantra or focus phrase that will motivate you and keep you going and say it every morning, or as often as you need.
- Take the time. The TV families took time off from the other things in their lives to focus on their family unit. You may not be able to take time off work or school, but a few temporary changes in your schedule could free up the time you need to make the changes you want. Before you implement any strategies at home, look at your calendar. Don’t plan to make changes during the holidays or a hectic work week. Avoid scheduling play dates or extra activities. Minimize meal plans by cooking large meals in advance. Save heavy cleaning and reorganizing for another time.
- Start small. Remember that in order to cross a bridge you have to take many steps. The Supernanny introduced change in small steps for each family. Break your larger goals down into smaller, more achievable ones. Think of these mini goals as the steps to the other side of the change you seek. Stick with one small goal until it is achieved before moving on to new ones.
- Plot your plan. Before you introduce your first goal, do some prep work. If necessary, hire a sitter and spend some time with your significant other, older children or a close family member/friend to create tools and plans in advance. Take pictures and gather supplies. Create schedules, calendars, household rules, reward charts and any other visuals that will help your family achieve success. Look on the internet for pre-made templates that will make life even easier.
- Dismiss Disappointment. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This age old rhyme has strong merit. After spending time with her TV families, the Supernanny stepped away to allow them time to give it a go on their own. Inevitably upon her return she found they had achieved success but also recognized their remaining struggles. Mistakes allow us to grow, learn and adjust. Dissipate expectations and embrace imperfection. If you find that you are struggling, take time to re-strategize, re-energize and relax. Sometimes a little break will be just what you need to get up and try again.
- Seek Support. The TV families had the up close and personal support and direction of a professional. While you may not be rushing to be on TV, you may still need and want some extra assistance. Support can take on many forms from hiring a maid service to clean your house, finding a neighbor to watch the kids for a few afternoons, calling upon family and friends or seeking the help of a professional behavior consultant. Identifying a support system and building this into your plan is critical to reaching your family goals.
If you are looking for your own “Supernanny” experience, give us a call at the Mental Fitness Center at (248) 601-3111 and ask about our affordable home consultation program. Click here for the Mental Fitness Center website.