Laura illustrates the benefit of practice when it comes to kids:
I have 2.5 year old twin boys. It seems like whenever we fly by the seat of our pants for special events, we learn something we wish we had known ahead of time. We've learned to do trial runs when an event is important to us. We tried out birthday cake before their first birthday only to find out they cried when presented with this new food. After three trial runs, they stopped crying and we were able to enjoy their real first birthday.
I didn't realize this was a hack until I mentioned it on my blog. We wanted to have a fire in our fireplace on Christmas Eve. One of my boys, Alex, is afraid of everything so we decided to try out our fireplace ahead of time. Good thing we did our trial run because it turns out there is a hornet's nest in our chimney, and my husband and I were treated to an afternoon of killing hornets in our living room. [I'm just imagining poor Alex's reaction to that. — Ed.]
We saved ourselves from quite possibly the worst Christmas Eve ever.
(Laura details the full story on her blog.)
I can't agree more. Especially if your kid is anxious. Any measure of predictability helps kids get through new situations. Even something as simple as a new pair of dress shoes or a fancy dress can set kids off. We practice "greeting" manners before parties, we write out lists of events of the day…there are so many ways to break down the notion of the "trial run."
How do you prepare your kids for special events, or, for that matter, any new situation?