Our Heavenly Father Loves All Families: Establishing a Plan and Pattern
What the experts say:
When a child transitions from a two-parent home to a one parent home, it's important to set up routines and rituals immediately. "Rituals are not routines. Routines have predictability as their goal. Rituals have connection as their goal," says Dr. Becky Bailey." A routine is a daily schedule of activities. A healthy ritual is a positive, predictable interaction between people, which occurs on a regular basis (such as a parent rubbing a child's back each night at bedtime). Routines provide security while rituals build strong connections. Children create their own rituals, and as a parent, you might not be aware of the rituals your child is missing due to the divorce. Creating new rituals will help your child feel connected to you.
One family's story:
One girl had a hard time going home after daycare. Coming home reminded her that her dad had moved out. The mother realized she had to think of something to help. Together they decided to create a ritual to do together every evening. On the way to pick up the girl, the mom would buy two bottles of water (or she would refill old bottles) for them to drink together on the ride home. They called this water "Sweet Dreams." At first when they drank the water, the little girl was sad and would talk about how their life used to be. Eventually, she began to discuss her dreams for the future, and they began to laugh and joke with each other.
** This materieal has been reproduced/adapted from Loving Guidance, Inc; Becky Baile- Conscious Discipline (p.61) Loving Guidance, Inc. 1-800-842-2846 www.consciousdiscipline.com
This week's Scripture focus:
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward
the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Building family strengths:
With your child, write out a daily routine that includes a list of each person's responsibilities and chores. Also, have a family meeting to decide upon a ritual for your family. Some children may need a ritual when transitioning between each parent's home. Another good time for connecting activities is at breakfast when everyone is rested or at bedtime at the end of the day. Be creative. Encourage your child to write out your family's daily routine and a description of one ritual you have developed as a family.
Activity: Our Family Plan
Purpose: To establish a new family plan and program. Start setting goals and keeping a family journal. Develop a connection with each member of the family by starting new routines and traditions. A chore chart is very helpful because it can help family members know what their responsibilities are and help in a single parent home. Make sure to keep some of the routines your family had before the divorce or seperation so that children have something they can count on that does stay the same, especially with so many changes already happengin. Plan a Family meeting each week and plan a couple of family outings. Children need consistency and patterns they can count on regularly, especially through divorce because there are so many changes, they need to know that some things ARE going to stay the same.
Resource for Charts:
Lesson: No matter what your family situation is you can have a family plan. You can build memories with your family. Quote: "Home is where the heart is." It doesn't matter where you love, what kind of house you have or how many people are in your family, but is important to be together with people who love you and who you love. Every kind of family can establish traditions, set rules and make goals. (Even you and your Heavenly Father can these together, just the two of you! Remember you are a child of God and part of His eternal family!)
Take time to make and decorate a family journal. Use it frequently. It will help t to reflect on good things in life and also help to develop a good family ritual. Use the journal at the end of each day or the end of each week. It could be a Family Sunday activity.
Go over some ideas for setting a family goal, such as, reading the scriptures together, praying together, working together, taking a walk together.
Discuss some fun things to do with your family. Ideas such as going to the park, on a walk, to the library or to the fire station are free and can be enjoyed by children of all ages.
Read D&C 88:119 "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."
Sing "Family Prayer." (p.189)
Families are important. We can have fun in our families even if we are going through some tough times. It is important to pray together, read together (even children's books and picture books) and spend time laughing together. It will help take your mind off some of the other feelings you may be having. It is important to make new goals and start some new routines and rituals, it will help keep the family organized and each member will better be able to see where they fit in the family and feel appreciated.
** Some of this material has been adapted from Divorce Care Workbook along with Kidcare at www.divorcecare.com