What’s your “High-Low-High”?

Being a member of the Chicago Dads Group I get the opportunity to do some fun things throughout the city or attend some fun shows with other dads.  Last September I got to attend a parenting improv workshop with Dr. Deborah Gilboa M.D., called “What’s Happy Got to Do With It?” by The Second City and Dr. G.  

The workshop was a fun way to see how to deal with certain issues that can come up when raising kids, but it was also a fun night out to talk to other parents and compare notes.  One thing that 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:

1. High-Low-High teaches kids that every one has fun and struggles each day. Resilience is the ability to overcome a difficult experience, and this reminds them that they can, and often, go on to have fun again.

2. Parents have struggles too! When everyone in the family plays, kids learn that their parents 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 grown-ups.

3. Starting and ending with the high demonstrates optimism. We should always look a little harder for the good than the bad, and end on a positive note whenever we can.

Now, I know there are different versions of this activity that many families might have. I remember in Randy Pausch’s book “The Last Lecture” he talked about asking his kids what their favorite part of the day was every night.  My sister-in-law and her family go around the table at dinner time and share what their favorite and not so favorite moments of the day are.  

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 surprising to see how they get invested in knowing what were your favorite and not so favorite moments, too.

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 we do “high-low-high”.

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 that we look forward to every night and she always reminds me that we have to do it.  I can not wait see how our “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.  

Share with us what are some of your nighttime rituals with your kids.

Thanks for reading. 

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