Every nerve ending was sizzling, anticipation was running high. I just knew it was going to be a fun day. I had planned carefully, done my research, and even purchased special treats to make the event that much more special. I crept into my kiddos room, gently opened their blinds, and sang a good morning song.
Instead of joyful shouts of cheer and four little angels prancing into the kitchen to eat breakfast before starting on our planned adventure, I was faced with four, unhappy, downright grumpy kiddos. They dragged their feet getting out of bed, grumbled about not knowing what to eat, and fought with each other over everything. A few even asked why in the world we had to go on this silly outing anyway.
(Did I just shatter your image of our ‘perfect family’? Good. The truth is we’re not perfect. On occasion the kiddos act up, mom gets frustrated, and the entire day goes south. Instead, what I hope you see is a loving family who works through crazy days like this one and finds the good.)
What’s a parent to do when what should have been a lovely day goes completely bonkers because the kids are acting up? Let’s explore a few options:
Pray – First and foremost, what you’re always going to hear from us is this: Pray. Pray, pray, and then pray some more. Pray for patience, understanding, and grace. Just pray.
Pray With The Kids – Don’t just pray on your own – although we do recommend this – pray with your kiddos. Ask the Lord to fill your home and restore the morning. Ask the Lord’s hand to be upon the event and turn the day around.
Talk It Out – Sometimes it helps to talk through the situation and ask what’s really going on. There might be an underlying problem which needs to be dealt with or the kids are feeling pushed. You won’t know until you talk it out.
Step Back – Sometimes a step back is a step forward. Instead of continuing on with the morning, you might need to have a family ‘time out’. Everyone is placed in separate rooms for five to ten minutes of absolute quiet. Just a few moments of peace is often enough to reset the day. Then, you can move forward.
ReGroup – So the initial plan didn’t work. This isn’t time to give up on the day. Rather, you need to regroup your thoughts and forge a revised agenda. You might ask the kiddos to help you come up with a plan of attack, making this a group effort.
Onward & Upward – Your revised plan is penciled in. Time to get a move on. Don’t worry about how the morning has gone so far, keep your eyes on the goal and start fresh. Keep moving forward and enjoy the day.
Reschedule – A complete change of plans is not defeat! Rather, think of it as choosing the greater good. (see below) Yes, the event would have been fun, but there will be other events. If I might humbly add… Let the kids know this is an option if the morning does not turn around. When faced with having to cancel an anticipated event, our children realize the seriousness of the situation and often make a greater effort to turn their behavior around.
Can’t Reschedule? – Rescheduling sounds great until you realize you can’t cancel the event, you’re the one running it! Now what? It might be time to look for an alternate plan. Perhaps someone could cover as lead on that field trip. If you’re hosting the event in your own home, the kids might need to be restricted to their rooms or a sitter might need to be brought in to supervise while you continue on. I wish there was an easy solution to this dilemma; really, I do. Unfortunately, only God can lead in how to best handle each situation. Pray and then move forward.
See The Bigger Battle – Is this really about a field trip or something bigger? Often, these setbacks are a spiritual attack. The enemy, Satan, is using your own excitement and children to fight against you. Instead of focusing on the multitude of small issues raining down, focus on the bigger picture.
Seek the Greater Good – What’s really important? The outing could have been a good one. Your children might have learned some amazing things. The event could have been a blessing to your family. But, would those lessons have been learned amidst all the fighting and fussing. Truly? Sometimes the greater good is to do nothing at all. Be willing to cancel an event or outing if the greater good is staying home and restoring family relationships, ensuring your children are right with God.
Relax – Plans change. Expect that. Worrying and fussing is only going to make a crazy morning even worse. Breathe, pray, and be prepared for God to have His will in your day. Even if things don’t go according to plan, that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad day.
Let’s be honest. Maybe our plans were ruined. But, is that such a bad thing? God knows what’s best. What’s important are His plans, not ours. Instead of blaming our kids and putting our ruined hopes on their shoulders, we need to take a step back and see the bigger picture.
Time to Chime In: If your littles have a meltdown mid-field trip, do you have a plan in place? We’d love to hear your thoughts on field trip mishaps and how you maintain your cool!