Eat the Frog

Start Traditions that Make You Better and Better

I was reminded by my daughter, Megan, of a trip tradition in our family that may be kind of funny to some, but it obviously stuck with her. It stayed with her because it made sense to her – enough so that she has made it a part of her life.

When we were preparing to go on a family trip, I would have our four kids wash the sheets on their beds and straighten their rooms – along with some of the packing of their suitcases. (Yes – my kids have done their wash from a relatively early age. We figured if they were savvy enough to navigate video games, they could follow some basic instructions to do wash!)  It was almost like we were getting ready for company ourselves – and you know what? WE were the company! When we arrived back home after a trip, always tired, because we usually drove long distances, it was like a warm “welcome back” hug to walk into their rooms that were cleaned and orderly. Coming back to a mess would just not have had that good feeling. It must have accomplished the intended purpose if my daughter still remembers it!

Have you ever heard of the concept of “Eating the frog?” Mark Twain once said,  “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”. Doing something you don’t really want to do and doing it first will make other things easier to do, and reap benefits, like our “clean home on arrival” strategy.

It really doesn’t have to be too hard to instill some good habits in your kids as they are growing up that will teach them lessons that will serve them well the rest of their lives. Call them up to be productive members of your household.  It also makes your life as a parent easier. Having my kids work on their rooms while I was doing other things like packing suitcases to get us ready for our trip meant that I was not doing everything for them. They were busy themselves at being a productive part of the vacation we were all excited about. And I didn’t have to start out my trip crabby from feeling like every little thing had been up to me. Moms have more than enough of that to contend with!

It’s little intentional things you can insert in the life of your family that point your kids in a better direction. My All Done Day plan continues that kind of intentional parenting that helped my kids realize daily success and be better equipped for real life after they left my home.

There was one more trip tradition that my other daughter, Lauren, reminded me of as well. When we arrived home from a long car trip, it was usually late at night.  Even if the kids had been sleeping, no one was allowed to just run off and go to bed. We took less than 10 minutes with one final push, together as a family,  to make sure everything was taken out of the car and brought into the house. This wasn’t the most popular idea at the time – and it was often met with some groans – mine included! But we all knew the set expectation, and we got it done. This was an “eat the frog” task that taught us all that part of the adventure included the clean-up at the end. One more bonus was that this helped avert the crabby mom who otherwise would typically be the only one cleaning the car the next day. You may be wondering what my grown kids think about this today. It comes up more often than I would imagine, and never has anyone complained or referred to this as “child abuse”. They see the value of the lesson and I imagine there may be “Car Clean-Up” endings to their family trips as well.

One of my favorite sayings is “Everyone Wins with an All Done Day.” Get my book All Done Day; How to Win at Everyday Parenting and find out how you can start helping train great things into your kids, one day at a time!

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Ann Lahm

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I love the opportunities to support parents and Moms in particular, that All Done Day has provided me.

Ann Lahm

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