With an older child, (or all the family), sit down together one day to plan a year’s calendar of events. It could be weekly, monthly, every second month or four times a year – depending on how big your plans are.
Make sure you only commit to what you are prepared to fulfill; the point of this exercise is to demonstrate looking forward with optimism and a positive attitude to something coming up. It’s okay to explain that some ideas won’t work for you – or that maybe they need to be modified.
Say to him: “I thought it could be fun to plan some things to do together for the rest of the year, would you like to do that?” = Wow, Mom wants to be with me to have some fun = this sounds exciting = I will look forward to this
Start to make a list together that he will write down in any order.
Have a few (realistic for you) ideas up your sleeve to set the ball rolling. If he suggests things that are too ‘huge/expensive/time-consuming’ you could counter with even more extreme ideas and have a laugh together as you then think of ideas that can really work more easily for you both. Perhaps there could be one ‘special’ event in there to top off the year. = This is fun = I am excited to think of what is coming up = I feel really positive about all these ideas
Next sort your list into date order together and get him to make up his Yearly Chart = Mom really is going to do this with me = I know this will happen with my Mom = I am confident about our future plans
Choose something for today to actually start the first event; say making a kite together and go fly it = Mom really does want to do stuff with me + I am looking forward with excitement and anticipation
Pin his Chart near his bed so that you can comment together on it nightly. A great way to go off to sleep, with something to look forward to and dream about = When I make plans with Mom they really happen = Mom can be relied on = my world can be relied upon
Now over the weeks and months, build on his excited anticipation for each event.
Look at your chart together at what is coming up. Make plans together. Even make small changes as you get better ideas – but not LOTS of changes on your part or his.
This is about looking forward to something that can be relied on with anticipation and hopefulness = I feel great about my world, it is an exciting place = I feel great about my future, I expect fun things to happen
A cautionary word!
His Chart and dreams will crash spectacularly, with devastating results if you don’t fulfill your part of the commitment. You know he doesn’t really care about what you do, how big or small it is. What he really wants is to know that you can be relied upon, that you want to be with him.
That’s the fun!