"Being a good dad starts with presence not presents"
Lets me honest. We all know those people in our circle of friends who seem to negotiate there way into or out of anything. Maybe it's a better price for a bag of fruit at a market or a pay raise at work, these people seem to have the art of bartering down pat, and they seem to be able to use it to their advantage more often than not. So my question is why aren't we all teaching our kids to negotiate like a pro?
Growing up in the UK there were car boot sales on every weekend, for everyone that doesn't know this is where people all got to the same place and set up stall out the back of their car to sell things. This was where I found my legs in bartering. Going back and forth on a price for an item or negotiating two or three items for a better deal was something I loved doing. Now as an adult u use the same skills set (a little more honed, but the same). While traveling I try to get things like a free airport pick up with my room or a deal on tour if I am booking something else with the same company. When at the farmer market I will bundle items for a better deal. At work I negotiate schedules, time off, even pay, everything is on the table.
Meal Time, Deal Time
Negotiating is and art, the process of listening to what the other person is say and then using your knowledge of past communication, body language and limitations to form a counter offer is almost symphonic. At our house you will regularly hear Lucy my oldest say "Dad I want to make you a deal" this is her simple way of opening negotiations. She knows she wants something that won't come for nothing and she has already formulate a deal to present to me. This process started at the dinner table, the conversation of 'i'm done, no you're not, how many more bites'. I would give a number of bites and she would finish and ask to be excused. Then over time the conversation developed, we split the food up to enable some back a forth, 'Ok, 5 bites of potato, 3 of broccoli and 2 of pie'. This opened a door, the door for Lucy to now negotiate how much of each food she wanted to eat. So after a while with some encouragement she started to counter, less potato, more pie and all the broccoli. Now after a year or more of this process she pipes up with her own a pre-arranged deal to which I have to make her offer to her counter.
Building On The Small Stuff
From this seemingly small meal time start Lucy has moved into negotiating on lots of things, Bedtime, Playtime, toys, treats, you name it and she will come up with a deal. It's amazing to see how her skill set is developing. She already tailors her negotiation to the person she is talking to and you can watch her gauging their reaction to see if there is another round of deals to be made or if this is the point of 'take it or leave it'. She is learning in a very simple way the process of reading people. Obviously, she wont be negotiating for hostages or brokering multi-million dollar deals from her Dora the explorer phone any time soon, but starting now, and having so many years to practice means that one day maybe she will. For now I see the empowerment and pride she feels after 'closing' a deal and it makes me feel good about helping her gain this extra tool in her belt.
So, you just found out you're going to be a dad. Your partner is going to be carrying around a baby for 9 months and you are think 'so what do I do now'. Well here are 10 things you can do in the next nine months that will pay dividends once your little bundle of joy arrives.
1. Get On Diaper Duty
I'm not talking about practicing changing diaper (you will get more than enough of that). When we found out that we were having Lucy I tried to think of things that would be really annoying when you at suffering from lack of sleep, and running out of diapers was one. So I crunched the numbers and we pre-bought a load on diapers. Every week we went shopping we would buy a box of diapers or a box of wipes. By the time Lucy came around we had stocked up enough to last almost 6 month. Which was just one less thing to worry about. This is what I would suggest going for if you are going to stock up. We stuck to Huggies and have tried a few other brands since then but have always gone back.
1 x Newborn (35 Pack)
3 x Size 1 (264 Pack)
5 x Size 2 (240 pack )
5 x Size 3 (216 pack)
unlimited amount x wipes
I have worked in the wind industry for close to 8 years and risk management is part of everyday life on the job. Learning how to assess the potential for risk and the likely hood of the event actually happening is something that has become second nature. Being able to weight out the risks and rewards when presented with a new situation is a key aspect of why I have stayed safe. Now, by applying those same risk management techniques I use at work I am giving my kids more choices than ever.
As you know, if you've read my previous post about co sleeping I'm a big fan. However at some point there is going to be that period of time where they are heading into their own bed. We are there right now with our youngest (almost 2) and the same plan we used for Lucy seem to be working again.
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4. 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do By Gever Tulley
5. For Parents, Happiness Is A Very High Bar By Jennifer Senior
I recently saw a post by a new dad (1 month in) who was feeling debilitated by the lack of sleep he was getting. It made me think of my first months as a dad and coping with the combination of little sleep and having to function as a dad and a member of society. So I thought it would be good to put down some the the things I used to help push through, and come to terms with that period of sleep deprivation.
1. Be A Team
You don't have to do it alone. If you are offered help don't try to be a hero. Usually the people offering the help have been in the same position as you and know what it feels like. If no one offers then ask for help. Taking help even for an hour can give you chance to rest and regroup. You will be surprise how much better you feel.
Tilley wanders around half in her pj's as I sit on the floor holding Lucy on my lap, tears stream down her face. It's so strange, she has never been a big crier and she is breaking down completely over not being able to zip up her onesie. 'Whats wrong Lulu?' and her answer makes everything clear. 'I miss mummy' she chokes through her tears. For the last three weeks the girls and I have been going it alone. Sheena's taking some schooling in India for the month and we plan to fly out after three weeks, spend a week traveling around and meet her in Goa for her last week of school. Now for the first time in three weeks, I feel completely lost. All I can do is hug her tight, console her and reassure her that I miss mummy to and we will see her in a weeks time in India.
I'm standing at the cooker, potatoes boiling over, Tilley tugging on my trousers 'uppie, uppie' and Lucy melting down over not being able to get her princess dress on. I slide the potatoes to the side, pick up Tilley and tug on a princess dress as Lucy's head pops through the top and she happily wiggles her arms into the holes. I grab my trusty mini speaker from its place on top of the fridge and scroll through my playlist. The music flows out of the speaker and the girls dance around and play while I go back to burning the potatoes.
We all have our 'panic buttons'. Things we use to defuse situations that are spiraling down. For some people it's TV, others it's reading or coloring. For me, when the sh*t's about to hit the fan (or already has) I turn to my playlists.
As a parent reading this post you are all to well aware of the importance of a solid nap, both for kids and parents a like. Last year we took a trip to Scandinavia and learned something new for nap time. Our children are both full of energy and nap time is a here and there occurrence in our house and most times it is short lived
A few couples we talked to said that it is the norm to leave their sleeping kids out in the cold to nap. Obviously bundled up in the right clothes not just PJ's though. All the couples reported that their children seemed to sleep longer and wake more rested and energetic after a nap in the cold, than if they were to nap inside, in bed.
Needless to say we were intrigued. Armed with this new knowledge we set to work thinking of how we could apply this at home without getting arrested for leaving our kids outside the front door during a Canadian winter.
For our kids the usually time they will fall asleep in the day is during a drive as you can see in the picture above. This gave us an opportunity, we decided, instead of transferring them to their beds post drive we would open one window and leave them in the garage where the temperature is a few degrees colder than the house (our house is usually set at around 17 celcius). After a few months of doing this we saw great success! Nap time had extended and we definitely saw that the girl were very well rested when the woke.
Jump to 8 months later and this is a regular occurrence at our house. In fact as I write this blog both girls are fast asleep in the garage with all the car windows open. I know its not quite as extreme as the Norwegians but a cooler nap time has really worked for us.