Most people live a good part of their lives by a schedule, but a lot of us tend to schedule things that drain the life out of us and not enough things that give us life. We get home at night and wonder why we’re so drained, even if we are good at time management. It’s because there is an important second side to that coin – energy management.
Every night in our home, we have a bedtime routine. Brush teeth, go potty, read books together, get pajamas on, hear a story from dad, and then we pray. My kids know this routine by heart, and I give them a certain amount of time to get it all done. “Kids, we have a certain amount of time before bedtime, and I have a certain amount of energy. I need you to get all of this done in ten minutes. If I have to keep reminding you, it’s going to use up some of my energy, and I might not have enough left to tell you a story.”
They’re learning that I have an energy bank, and if they choose to withdraw too much by me needing to remind them to brush their teeth instead of play Legos, they’ll have to sacrifice that energy on something they enjoy, like story time. My kids have lost their story a few times, and each time they don’t get one, it reminds them they need to make better decisions about how they spend their time.
This is a great tool to teach discipline with time and energy. However, follow-through is the only thing that will truly cause it to work. A lack of follow-through doesn’t just cost us our time and energy, it costs us trust, and we all need our kids to trust us.
We also want our kids to learn to control themselves when it comes to how they spend their time, and to make wise choices with what they do with their energy, so follow-through in this area will help build this foundation.