Once November hits, hockey families are well into their busy sports, school and work schedules. Following a hectic tryout and evaluation process, the effects of the zero to 60 change in schedule can sometimes leave moms, dads and kids feeling tired and overstretched.
When this happens, our creative thinking and problem solving abilities take a back seat, and it becomes difficult for the best of who we are to shine — whether at home, in the classroom or on the ice.
So how does an active family go about creating calm waters in their busy day-to-day routine? Well, everyone knows that nobody was able to navigate rough seas better than the pirates of old. So, bring on the peg legs and glass eyes! Here are a few tips that even good ol’ Black Bart would agree will lead to clearer paths and a happier crew.
1. Create your own map.
We all have detailed calendars, which is a great start, but creating a clear picture of where you’re headed can remind everyone what they are really part of and how they can help. The following can be a short but fun activity to do on an open evening:
Have your family members draw or cut out visuals from magazines that depict a variety of areas in which they have strengths or interests. For example, if Joey is a good organizer, he could choose a picture of a coordinated room. Glue the images to a poster board, also adding words or images of what everyone thinks your home should feel like — calm, fun, colourful? Once the board is complete, keep it in a central place for everyone to see. You’d be amazed at how a common vision can help keep everyone on track when the days get busy.
2. Get your sea legs.
Ask family members to contribute ideas on how to make things run smoother. This shows that everyone’s opinion is valuable. It helps to build creative muscles around solving common problems. The experience gained from collaborating will also provide younger family members with an opportunity to learn important life skills that will help them in other situations. The most important piece to remember here is that everyone should feel safe in their ability to share new ideas. Make sure there are no judgments or negative talk about ideas that are put forward — no matter how big or crazy they might seem on the surface.
3. Have more fun, matey!
Don’t forget to make room in life for fun. There wasn’t a successful pirate ship out there that didn’t recognize the importance of promoting fun, laughter and play. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the schedules and details that fun seems like the last thing on the list. It can be as simple as sharing a joke or playing a board game or a round of I Spy. It diffuses tense situations and gives you a common place from which to start a dialogue with family members. The relaxation associated with having fun has been linked again and again to opening new creative pathways that allow for happier, more well-rounded people — no matter what your age.