Hopefully, you have looked at the list on the Finding Your Traps and Triggers. This exercise is actually a great way to get to know your family. If one of your kids marks that they do not wan to talk when they first get home from school, maybe that is the reason getting them to talk in the car is such an uphill battle! If you wait until they are more relaxed later in the evening, you might have a better chance of getting them to talk.
OK, now that you have everyone’s personal trigger zones, its time to map out when the family trigger zones are. I like to do this with a regular calendar page, or you can just get a blank piece of paper and make seven columns for each day of the week. Have a different color for each family member and put in blocks of time that are bad for each person. Find the areas that overlap.
You will probably already have an idea of your trigger zones just by looking at the list, but I find the ‘visual map’ really helpful. Once you find your ‘touchy’ areas write down what happens in these time zones. Here is an example: (it might take a few days of experiencing them to write down what happens)
Before School Crunch:
-Mom makes breakfast and lunches -Haley and Courtney get ready for school and eat breakfast
1*Yelling for kids to come downstairs
-They run late and eat part of breakfast
2*fight over vitamins and eating more breakfast
3*fights over what is for lunch
-Talk about after school activities, when pick up people
4*hectic making sure everyone finds lunch/backpacks.
-get backpacks together
-dad takes girls to school
5*Rush over time to leave, dad gets irritated when everyone runs late or people leave things at home.
-Dad wants to talk to girls on the drive, girls want to do last minute studying and listen to music.
6*Bickering in car over music or talking
=Rushed start of the day, everyone is in a bad mood and irritated with each other.
Each of the stars signify moments in the period that cause irritation or fighting, called triggers. These are obviously things we want to change. Start with baby steps. With each star, find ways to change the pattern or take away the annoyance. Here are the ways I would stop some of my families triggers.
1* Set an egg timer upstairs when kids need to come down, if they are late by five minutes then they need to get up five minutes earlier the next day (same for ten, twenty…) This is a very good motivation because it means less sleep the next day.
2* If there is enough time with the egg time method then hopefully they will be able to eat breakfast, put vitamins in little pill baggies that can be taken in the car ride.
3* Make lunches at night and discuss what is in lunch at night when it is calmer and there is time.
4*Have a launching pad by the door where all backpacks are packed the night before and anything that needs to go to school is at the launching pad near the door (including signed paper sheets, art projects or sports equipment).
5* Move egg timer downstairs…same principle as above, if they are late, they have to get up earlier that equivalent the next day.
6* Make a system: on test/quiz days kids can study or listen to music, otherwise we talk, or the first half of the car ride have music while we unwind and then the second half we talk.
This is all about breaking up the cycle into the small steps that lead to big fights. My family would have huge fights in the car on the way to school or as we were leaving. So, by breaking up the cycle like this, you can see the smaller steps that lead to the bigger problems.
Coming up, how to implement your new trigger stoppers: