Is it possible to live a stress-free family life? When I was a young mother it seemed impossible and unrealistic. Though I tried, I struggled to stay on top of my own schedule as well as the schedule my children needed to adhere to.
Our recent guest, Madeleine Davis also struggled to be a “together mom.”
“When I embarked on the journey of motherhood I thought I was the only mom who didn’t have all the answers. It was intimidating. I was successful in my business life, and I thought popping out a few kids would be easy.”Madeleine Davis
Madeleine thought what many mothers think: “I’m never going to figure this out before my kids grow up and leave for college.”
Thankfully, Madeleine did figure it out, published a book, and created a system to help overwhelmed parents to be relaxed and confident while setting their kids up for success.
Her book is A Stress-Free Family – Chaos to Calm in only 28 Days. Madeleine calls it a daily handbook which most parents complete in 6 weeks (partnering with her Stress-Free Family System) but can be done in 28 days.
“You don’t have to be born a together mom – you can learn how to be one.”Madeleine Davis
Parents who’ve decided to take Madeleine’s program say they no longer wanted to fake it or keep the “together” illusion. Her program is simple and easy to implement.
“It’s a family system. It helps everybody.”Madeleine Davis
Family life is often chaotic, and the pandemic hasn’t made it any easier. Kids are in different schools (or at home) starting at different times of the morning. Parents are working from home, too. Most parents know children thrive with structure, but don’t know how to create it.
“Sometimes as parents we feel comfortable in chaos because we grew up that way. We’re all trying to do the best we can, but trial and error learning is inefficient learning. Even if parents research solutions the glut of information is paralyzing.”Madeleine Davis
Madeleine’s system makes sense and fits all the important pieces together. The Stress-Free Family System is a five-step process and it’s included in her book.
Step 1: Routines
“Stress is reduced when routines are effective. I teach families to optimize routines in the home and make it easy to change as the family changes.
One part of the process is clustering; and once implemented clustering is a life changer.”Madeleine Davis
Madeleine suggests identifying a time when a child’s routine is most challenging and in which rooms the activity takes place. For instance, in the bedroom a child would make his/her bed, get dressed and grab their book bag. In the bathroom a child would use the toilet and brush his/her teeth. In the kitchen they’d eat breakfast and grab their lunch box.
“Chances are right now your kids are ping-ponging back and forth from room to room allowing distractions at every turn. The Stress-Free Family System takes them to each room only one time, and then out the door.”Madeleine Davis
In the Routines part of the system parents also learn to use a Tomorrow Box/Basket/Bag. This is a way to contain everything that needs to go out the door with each child in the morning. Each child will also take everything to the bedroom with them at bedtime.
The system teaches parents to plan each day the day before. Just this one principle helps children practice next-step thinking, as well as strategic and critical thinking. This way parents can avoid all the forgotten homework and lunch boxes.
Simple, fast, and seamless parenting!
Step 2: Rhythms
This is a process to identify the repetitive events that require both parent and child participation.
“Families solve each problem for the last time. The result is a home which runs effortlessly.”Madeleine Davis
Imagine kids constantly asking questions, misplacing notes from school, forgetting lunch, and learning there is no permission slip for a school trip when it’s needed.
Now, imagine erasing all of those problems forever.
Step 3: Rules
Rules are either enforced, or not depending on the energy level of the parent enforcing them. In Madeleine’s system rules are based on two factors 1) they are tied to family values and principles; and 2) they are created for each family member… including parents.
“A couple of suggested Mom rules are, ‘I will only choose consequences I know I can honor’ and ‘I will not allow my emotions to guide my actions’.”Madeleine Davis
Identify one or two rules you can give yourself to be the parent you want to be.
Step 4: Rewards
In Madeleine’s Stress-Free Family System, consequence is used instead of punishment and chores are called contributions.
“It’s best to reward for good behavior instead of punishing for bad behavior.”Madeleine Davis
Madeleine reports that money rewards rarely work, but internal motivation does.
Think about three things your child would want to have, or to do. Only include rewards you can realistically give them and think of them ahead of time to reduce the temptation to bribe in the moment.
Step 5: Revolutionize
Madeleine suggests keeping the changes you’re making under cover until just the right time.
“Kids already have changes happening in their lives. If you announce a new program to include big changes at home you’ll get push back from the family.”Madeleine Davis
Making changes covertly will create a revolutionary buy-in later since you’ll be able to provide examples of the positive changes already made. Madeleine’s system includes scripts to say just the right things during the revolutionized meeting. Your children will feel they are driving the changes, and there will be no push back!