It never fails. You have the P-E-R-F-E-C-T schedule made up and you’re pushing merrily though the day when the bottom falls out. Maybe it’s the phone ringing with the neighbors offering to have your kids come over to play in the pool. Or maybe it’s not such a happy occurrence (the odd potty accident while you’re out and about and not a spare pair of shorts to be found).
Unfortunately, even the best Collaborative Schedule can be laid to waste by life and in those times, you just have to try and be flexible. Of course, with some children, that is easier said than done.
Getting Back to The Schedule
No matter who they are, all children need some level of structure – and the sooner you can get back to structure, the better. To manage schedule disruptions, we primarily rely on two strategies: trading activities and the “Go Home and Regroup.”
Whenever possible, we try to “trade” items on our schedule so that the future expected course of activities is maintained. In the example where the unexpected play opportunity turns up, Little Miss and I will look at her Want to Do activities and trade one of those for play. Sometimes we have to re-arrange other activities, but we do it all in a collaborative, visual way so that there aren’t any more surprises in the future.
The “Go Home and Regroup”
Not all swaps are Want to Do worthy. In cases where something gives out and we have to end an activity early, I like to add a “Go Home and Regroup” (GH&R). This means exactly what it says. We head home, do something reinforcing when we get there (like have a snack), regroup, and then get on with our schedule.
The trick with the GH&R is that it must be a power that is shared equally among collaborators. More than likely, the parents will use it most, but the kids need to know that if they’re at the end of something and they just can’t handle another minute, they can call a GH&R too (keep in mind, this may require a little working toward yes if you have kids who are prone to use the GH&R to quickly!).