“do something else” a phrase that’s so often used when your child says “I always go there or always do that”. How often do you do something else? something different? how easy is it to find that something? As adults we quickly become stuck in our ways and it’s no different for children and young people. Even more so when they are learning by the example you set. Something new or different doesn’t need to be expensive or big. It can be walking a different route, asking different questions, trying a new hobby. You can lead by example and try these things together:
Take a different route
Walk or rive the long way, the opposite way, use public transport when you’d usually use the car. Mix it up – it doesn’t always need to be how its always been. Small changes bring new experiences and opportunities.
Eat something you’ve never had before
Use it as a fun way to cook an adventurous meal together or let your child do the cooking and surprise you. Pick a recipe that’s easy to follow. Stir Frys, one pan dishes are great options and reduce the washing up requirements. You could choose a different country cuisine each week.
Do a new physical activity
Trying new things in person is great, tennis in the park or hula hooping in the garden. If you’re stuck for ideas you could try some YouTube workouts. Dance, yoga, Tabata, walking workouts. Keep it short and fun!
Ask different questions
How was School, have you done your homework, why are you so late, where’s your PE kit, can you tidy your room? Questions on repeat and a guarantee you almost always get the same answer or a grunt in response. Take some time to chat together and frame your questions differently. You could try these over dinner and have the whole family answer them: What positives can you take from today? Who treated you well today? what did you do to help others? Or if you’re an organised family and have time over breakfast: What would make today great? What values or behaviours do you want to put forward today?
Meet the answers without judgement or criticism. Create a space that’s safe to express feelings, dreams and hopes.
Go somewhere new
That cafe, park, shop that you’ve seen on social media or walk past but never go into. Do it! Do you food shop in a different place, have your takeaway from one you’ve never been to, eat in the food place all the cool kids talk about or make your own at home.
Take photos and let photos be taken. Take them together and let others take them of you together. Swallow that embarrassment or uncomfortable feeling of having your photo taken and capture the fun. The photos don’t need to be insta perfect (what even is that) they don’t need to ever be shown to anyone. Its so special to have photos to look back on, I struggle to find ones of me as a teenager with my parent/s and I really wish I had more of us together. Be in the photo!!