Years ago, I read a book that I can no longer remember the title of. I remember and put into practice one thing from this book.
It was called the 5 Point Review or something similar.
(If anyone knows the original source and name of this book, please let me know)
Basically, at the end of each week, you ask yourself a set of questions about each of your children.
1. How is (Ned) doing physically?
(for example, health, diet, nutrition, growth, skin colour?)
2. How is (Ned) doing socially?
(does he have friends, is he happy to go to school/kindy, what are his stories of his friends like? does he ask if they can come to visit or he visit there? is he asked to friend’s houses)
3. How is (Ned) doing emotionally?
(how are his moods? temperament? is he generally calm, placid, happy, secure? does he ever have outbursts? what preempts them?)
4. How is (Ned) doing mentally?
(how is he when it comes to academic readiness and success, is he interested in books, how is he coping with school/kindy, how is his general attitude toward learning?)
5. How is (Ned) doing spiritually?
(how does he respond to family values and responsibility, how is he sleeping, what are his dreams like?)
The idea behind this is that if we, as parents, give ourselves over to these questions with our full attention for at least 5-10 minutes once a week, we’ll start to identify when there are growing issues that need attention and we may/should be able to ‘nip them in the bud’. It can’t hurt and it can definitely make you aware of things long before something might truly come to your attention.
For me, asking these questions each week (or fortnight, or month if I was truly busy!) has helped me to sense a problem when on the surface level, everything actually seemed ok. I think asking these questions to oneself can trigger a kind of a gut instinct, and give us a tummy rumble when something is a little skewiff in our child’s life.
But I also think we can use these questions to gauge our own “temperature”. We need to be balanced somewhat across all five areas to be at our best (in life, and in parenting) so by taking our own ‘temperature’ once a week, we can also identify areas in our own lives that need a little boost or time-out. As parents, we need to ensure we stay in balance as much as possible, and nourish and nurture ourselves if we are to cope and practice our best level-headed responses with our children even when they push us to our limits. Answering these questions honestly can help us to be KIND to ourselves, and give ourselves permission to right something that is wrong. Whether it be creating a better work/life balance, or visiting the chiropractor for an adjustment, or meeting OUR friends for an early weekend breakfast (sans children) or taking time out from work after hours for a whole week and reading a good book instead… by taking our temperature, we can halt the rise of our blood before it boils over.
Why not try it today? Ask yourself these questions and ask them about your child too? How is your family’s temperature doing today?