Leadership lessons from 3 consecutive snow days with my toddler

The weather channel is calling the recent deep freeze and snow a “snow-pocalypse”. As a result of this sever weather, the city where I live (the whole state really) shut down for three days. No work! Woot! I can catch up on writing, reading and social media. I can take time for me and maybe enjoy a long hot bath. Nope. Daycare was closed, too. There is no such thing as quality down time with an active 2.5 yr old at home who can’t go outside due to the -40 degree weather. 

All in all, it was great three days. I have an outstanding kid! He reminded me of a few leadership lessons while we were stuck inside:

1. Patience – you can’t be part of or fuel the drama (ie temper tantrums). As a leader, you need keep calm, attempt to communicate in different ways to have your message heard, even try a distraction tactic or two until the storm passes. Once the drama calms down, productive developmental conversations are able to occur with success. 

2. Creativity is a must! Using what’s around you to create a new and challenging environment. A metaphorical cave built with quilts over and around the dining room table ignite creativity in those around you. This leads to hours of fun and new ways of interacting in an environment that had become stale and boring. 

3. Well-timed discipline can clear the air. Sometimes a time out is just what the doctor ordered. Clears the air, allows clear communication to occur about desired behavior, reinforcement of value (via a hug with toddlers) and the day continues with everyone in a better place. 

4. Alone time is essential. Time to think, zone out, relax…whatever, can add a good deal of value the remaining interactions of the day. My son will sometimes get really cranky outside of nap time. We set him up with a snack and a movie in the basement (finished, great play place for a child). About 30-45 minutes later, he comes up stairs and is happy and ready to play. We all need down time away from another to revitalize. 

5. Routine makes everyone happy. Knowing what to expect next creates a sense of safety thus allowing for greater risk taking. My caution here is to keep to a high-level routine that keeps the general overall flow of the days the same. Stay away from routines that schedule every single minute. These are stifling routines that can drastically reduce energy, engagement, creative and risk taking. 

6. Listen, hear and respond. My kiddo is determined and stubborn. He will repeat the same thing over and over and over and over and over again until you acknowledge what he is saying by showing that you heard what said, understand it, and are contributing to the progression of the conversation. We all want to be heard. We know we are heard when others respond to us. We know we are heard and valued when others authentically engage in the conversation with us. 

Life lessons come from the strangest of places if you pay attention and listen! I look forward to future lessons from my son!

What lessons have learned in unexpected circumstances? 

Until next time, keep it real and keep showing up!