When I was an early childhood teacher trainer, one of the first guidelines I drilled into my students was that many times, it’s easier to change the environment than to change the child. You can wear yourself out telling a preschooler to stop banging the drum. Or you can walk over, remove the drum, and save everyone a lot of hassle.
(And yes, I know, in an idea world the kiddo would do as requested the first time. But this is the real world. And many kids just didn’t get that memo.)
In any case, I find it works well with adults, too, though for myself, I find I use the reverse: change my environment to make it harder to do something I shouldn’t do. Like, right at this moment my phone is on the other side of the room to make it harder for me to check email when I’m supposed to be working. Simple, but sometimes the simplest things work best.
So how do pancakes fit in?
Well, there’s a lot of pancakes eaten in this house. Tsarina and HRH have one every morning. And when you use a bulk mix, it really doesn’t take much time – spoon the mix into a cup, add milk, stir and cook. Easy peasy. Except, of course, I wanted something with a little more nutritional value than many of the ready-made mixes. I found recipes online. Mixed up a batch. Used it quite happily and declared myself delighted.
But then it was all used up. And even though it takes all of five minutes or less to make a new tub of mix, I kept putting it off. Why? Because even though I had printed out the recipe, the extra step of finding it in my cookbook made it feel like a much more time-consuming job.
(Stop laughing. I never claimed to be sensible.)
What to do? I thought and thought, and finally remembered the whole thing about modifying the environment. I wasn’t about to move the cookbooks, and I couldn’t leave the recipe out all the time. But I could definitely do this:
Yep. I wrote it out and packing-taped it right to the front of the tub. Now when I need to make more mix, it’s all right there. Best of all, with it being so easy, most of the time my husband will do the honours.
Laziness and environmental modifications for the win.