Just on our way out of the door is the time I notice.
We’ve worked on getting everyone out the door without shouting too much. It used to bother us as parents that rounding up the kids and getting into the car to go anywhere would be so hard. Stressful. Why do they want to play now?
By the time we were all in the car, we all needed a lie down and a time out. We were mad at each other and blamed each other. No one really wanted to do whatever it was we were planning to do with such a cloud over us.
So we developed the pause.
Before we go out the door, if at all possible. We pause. We stop. Take a deep breath. The aim is too collect our thoughts, calm down, remember those last minute things.
The pause helps with the back and forth from the car when one adult is there and they remind a child- Did you bring your inhaler? Did you grab a tissue? Did you get the cooler bags? Where’s your lunchbox? Did you…?
Before you go out you might remember. It’s a handy word to use than, ‘pause, stop and take a deep breath’. ( Although we still need to say it to reinforce the slowing down of things) We’re not perfect just trying to do better.
It’s not a foolproof system because sometimes you’re just late and you have to flee. But when you can pause before you step out it’s oh so good. We feel like we’re going out together as a team, happier rather than individuals getting in the car.
Now you and I will check in the mirror before we leave and make sure we’re clean, matching somewhat and are presentable. Kids……not so much. That pause helps to catch them before they head out. We’ve had phases of mismatched socks that’s not the issue but there are a few things that have helped us in the last few homes that I’ve just set up again in our newest home.
The Pause Station
A pause station supports the pause and stops the kids getting out the door when we miraculously see everything.
Why is that? As we lock the front door I notice that they have sleep in their eyes, dry ashy skin or they do that ginormous sneeze that presents all that congestion in one convenient long drip they are aching to use their arm to wipe up.
Now with the pause station it’s added to our system of getting out the house. Before you go to the car- stop by the pause station! You’d think with three of them they’d notice these things about themselves but they’d rather play than groom. So now we have second chance to clean up.
This works really well ,as I’m sure you know there is no end to how mucky puppy kids can get between the shower in the morning and getting out the door.
The pause station delivers just what it says, a pause and deliberate focus on a few things. Our few things. Our bug bears. The things we send the kids back into the house with the most to do. It works because it’s right by the door next to the shoes, the coats and tailored to our family.
For us our Pause station is
- wet wipes
- packet of tissues
(Optional- comb and spray for their hair)
Impact on our family atmosphere
- Getting out the door is easier because the kids can self check.
- We as parents don’t feel like coaches standing over them telling them, Have you done your teeth? Where are your shoes? No you can’t wear that? They can feel confident that they are getting things right.
- An opportunity to develop a little more self control and emotional regulation as we transition.
Pause at the door wasn’t enough for us we had to support them more.
It was a start. The pause station helps even more.
Now if only I had my own pause station….
What would you have in your pause station?
If you’ve enjoyed this article you’ll find more ideas about family atmosphere on my Pinterest board.