Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Family Skills: Planning Ahead

It takes a lot of work to coordinate the activities of several people. Planning ahead makes this much easier than trying to arrange things at the last minute. Sadly, it's under attack from modern innovations like the cell phone, which somewhat reduce the consequences of not planning ahead by making it more possible (but not more easy) to do things at the last minute. For best results, practice this skill early and often.

Here are some ways you can work on planning ahead with your family:

1) Before starting to cook from a recipe, read it to make sure that you have all the necessary ingredients and tools. This is an ideal task for children.

2) January and February are garden planning season (for Northern Hemisphere residents). Look through garden catalogs with your family. Discuss what kinds of vegetables, fruits, herbs, or ornamental plants each person likes. What are some favorite varieties? What are some new things you'd like to try? What do these plants need to grow? Where would you put each plant? Use the answers to decide which plants or seeds to buy. A similar process works in March-May, the planting season, when you may visit local nurseries to buy more plants.

3) Make a grocery list before you go shopping. Children can help list what needs to be restocked; even little ones can help cross things off the list in the store. Shopping lists aren't just for groceries, though -- use them when you visit a craft or clothing store to make sure you buy what you really need.

4) Play strategy games that thinking ahead and making plans. Some free games are available online. Classic strategy games include chess, Chinese checkers, and Risk.

5) Planning makes an excellent topic of conversation at the beginning and end of each day: "What are you going to do today?" "What was your day like?" and "What are your plans for tomorrow?" help keep people connected. Lay down this habit early, and you may be spared a decade of pure "I dunno..." during adolescence. Also include weekly or monthly family meetings for longer-term planning of holidays, vacations, birthdays, and other special occasions. Children old enough to read and have special activities such as lessons or play dates may enjoy having their own calendar.

What other techniques do you use for planning ahead?
Tags: family skills

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