The Chicago Dads Group recently attended “What’s Happy Got to Do With It?,” a workshop with parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa and sponsored by The Second City comedy group that let us find fun in how we parents deal with certain issues that come up when raising kids. One thing I got out of that workshop that I use every night with my little girl was the game of “High-Low-High.”
According to “Dr. G:”
- High-Low-High teaches kids that everyone has fun and struggles each day. Resilience is the ability to overcome a difficult experience, and this reminds them that they can, and often, and go on to have fun again.
- Parents have struggles, too. When everyone in the family plays, kids learn their parents also must overcome challenges, and so we model resilience as well as talking about it. Even better, our kids will respect us more if they understand more about the good and bad we face in a day. We don’t need to discuss or explain every challenge, but they also shouldn’t think that everything is easy for grownups.
- Starting and ending with a “high,” or good thing, demonstrates optimism. We should always look a little harder for the good than the bad, and end on a positive note whenever we can.
I feel that this is a great activity to do to promote discussion and just find out what your children are thinking or how they process their days. It’s also surprising to see how they get invested in knowing what were your favorite and not so favorite moments.
With my little girl, we save High-Low-High for the end of the night. Our nightly routine consists of her brushing her teeth, choosing a book or two for me to read to her and then playing the game.
It’s kind of funny to see how our “high-low-highs” differ between myself and my little girl. When we first started doing this her highs and lows were more geared to getting things she wanted or did not like. For example, she would say, “My high today is getting the (insert name) toy or book and my low is that my stomach did not feel good today and my last high is that I ate a cookie.” When telling her my highs, I would mention our walks to school and reading her a story at night and my lows would be something like not hearing back from a potential employer or having pain in my knee.
As time went by our “high-low-highs” started changing and becoming more personal and meaningful. Her highs would include spending time with family members, helping out around the house and seeing certain classmates in school after they missed a day or two. Her lows would be not seeing certain classmates because they were sick, that her aunt was sad because her mother had passed and that there would be no school the next day.This routine of ours is something we look forward to every night and she always reminds me that we have to do it. I can not wait see how High-Low-High is going to evolve as she gets older and once her brother is old enough to join us in our daily ritual. Doing this, I feel, is creating a deep bond with my children that will teach them that they can talk to me about anything and that everyone, even parents, have their highs and lows.
What are some of your bedtime rituals with your kids? Leave them in the comments.
A version of this first appeared on FanDads.