I’ve had a post bumping around in my head for a while now about trigger points: I’m talking about those metaphorical buttons that may or may not cause us to flip out when they’re pushed too hard. And by a while, I mean a year or two.
Someone told me a a couple of years ago that one of the best things I could do for my kids was help them recognize their own trigger points and help them figure out ways to avoid them when possible or recover from the ensuing meltdown when not.
That’s good advice. But upon further thought, I was struck by how many adults are helpless in the face of their triggers: they don’t know what they are, can’t avoid them, and struggle to bounce back when they’re pulled.
Some triggers are nearly universal: people get cranky when they’re tired, or hungry. Others are specific to the individual: solitude is a trigger for some people; crowds are a trigger for others. Some get anxious traveling; others adore it.
Personally, I’ve only been able to articulate in the last few years that clutter is a major trigger for me, and that having something unpleasant in the back of my mind (unexplained bank charges to look into; waiting for the doctor to call with test results) makes me snappish if I don’t watch it.
I’d love to tell you about how we’re working hard with one of our kids to identify very specific triggers and very actionable coping strategies, and how the mood in our house has improved dramatically as we’ve made progress in this area. That’s a little personal for today’s post, but trust me: being able to transform a vague sense of unease into a trigger diagnosis and strategies that let you avoid it or actually do something about it will change your life.
I’ve been thinking about this post forever, and I finally wrote it—over at Simple Homeschool. There’s nothing particularly homeschool-y about it—we all have trigger points—although take my word for it: it’s much easier to teach a kid fractions if they’re not in the middle of an Epic Blood Sugar Crisis.
From the post:
The older I get, the more aware I am that effective homeschool time management must include effective energy management.
Creating a schedule that really hums for our family requires more than just shifting blocks of time around in Google Calendar or the DayTimer. We also need to strategically take energy reserves, emotional needs, stress levels, and self-care into account.
The potential land mines that can blow up your homeschool day are many, for kids and for grown-ups.
Having an awareness of what punches your buttons—and scheduling accordingly—can mean the difference between a successful homeschool day (week/month/year) and one that goes up in smoke.
These are the land mines that blow up the most at my house. I’m sure you have your own list, and I’d love to hear about them in comments. Self-awareness makes all the difference, so let’s help open each other’s eyes….