Little Miss’s very first item on our very first Collaborate Schedule was lame. I love the kid to death, but even I had to admit it. Yet there is was under her name and I really (really) didn’t want to do it. How DO you “play Shopkins” anyhow? They’re little anthropomorphic foods and accessories and I can’t even imagine what they might do for fun. Shop themselves?
But lame as (I thought) her idea was, I had promised myself that when it comes to brainstorming ideas for our Collaborate Schedule, the answer was always going to be “yes.” We put “play Shopkins” at the beginning of our day, taking turns with our Want to Do items and peppering in Must Do activities when necessary. When the list was finished, Little Miss skipped off to the play room to collect her box of Shopkins and we played.
Since I wasn’t sure what to do with them, we adapted slightly, pulling out her doll house too and pretending that it was Father’s Day. Mother and grandmother set to work on a Father’s Day feast (cooking up all the food Shopkins – creepy, right?) while brother and sister showered dad and grandpa with Shopkins gifts. In the end, it was actually kind of fun. And Little Miss was overjoyed because I took the time to play something that meant a lot to her.
The moral of the story is that there aren’t too many things kids will ask for that are so awful that you (as the grown-up) can’t possibly refine into a real, do-able activity.
There’s always the “what if” monster, isn’t there? What if he asks to do something dangerous? What if her request is too expensive? What if we just. can’t. do it?
There is always a solution. Little Miss asked to go to the zoo on a 90-degree day with 90% humidity. She doesn’t do well in heat and I knew that the instant we got out of the car she would be a miserable wreck. But there is a lovely air-conditioned nature center just a few miles away from our house and that compromise did nicely.
My friend’s sons wanted to go to the local amusement park, but that’s the sort of thing that requires resources and is far to expensive to do every day. They decided to create a family summer bucket list for “big ticket” activities and work to include them whenever they can. The deal with activities on the bucket list though is that once they’re crossed off, they’re done for the summer.
You Can’t Have a Collaborative Schedule without Collaboration
If one side of the team is a dictatorship, your Collaborative Schedule is never going to work. In the end, every time we say “no,” we loose the opportunity to really learn who our children are and what they value. Is collaboration easy? Not really. But it’s worth it. I promise.
I understand that some of you are coming from a different place in the collaboration spectrum and I get it. I’ve been there and will probably be back there before too long. If you have a child with behavioral challenges that make collaboration difficult, I recommend checking out Dr. Ross Greene’s Lives in the Balance.