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It’s 3:00 PM. Where are your Kids?

Remember watching the news or listening to the radio and every night without fail, the iconic phrase was delivered;  “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?”  This catchphrase was used by many journalists as a way to help parents remember newly set curfews put in place due to widespread rioting in the 1960s. The phrase continued to be utilized into the ’90s, over twenty years later. The intent was to keep children safe from harm.

Let’s consider a different time, for a different era.

3:00 PM.

WHY  are we altering and re-delivering the phrase?

Our motto at ACT Dental is “Better Life, Better Practice.” In our coaching program, we give our clients the ability to see the big picture, not only in their business life but also in personal life.  That personal side can not exist without intentionally scheduled family time.

In the unrest that came from the rioting back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there was a shift in community mindset. It resulted in the repeated exercise of checking on your children. Today, we are living through, and growing from, the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to other new world-changing factors.

According to a St. George, Utah news article, dinnertime is a critical moment for families. They quoted a national addiction and substance abuse study and described dinner with families, and the interaction between family members in that dinner setting, as the “magic bullet” to decrease drug and alcohol use.

In that article, Dr. Anne K. Fishel, the co-founder of  The Family Dinner Project  and a clinical psychologist, teacher, blogger, and family therapist, said “It doesn’t even have to be dinner. If breakfast works better for your family – or perhaps substituting weekend lunches – those count as well. Again, conversation and connection would seem to be the key.”

HOW  do I change my schedule to accommodate more family time?

Have you considered changing your daily working hours to accomplish this goal? Dental office schedules widely vary but  Kirk’s absolute favorite recommendation is a schedule of 7-3 every day, Monday through Thursday.  Create a plan to look ahead in your practice schedule. Now is the perfect time to start making these adjustments as many offices will soon be scheduling recare patients into January.  2022 can start off right with  more family time and less work.

WHAT  will be the result of this schedule change?

Dr. Ashton Prince described what the switch has done for his practice:

  • Patients actually prefer earlier appointments to get their day started
  • I have the ability to get home in time for family events
  • The schedule provides a means for my team members to also be available and enjoy their families more (happy team = happy office = happy doctor)
  • Having a hard cap at 3:00 provides an ability to train patients to not take advantage of my time
  • Working after 3:00 involved a drop in my energy and productivity. It has been better to end the day on a high note. The schedule change removed the hurdle.
  • It has made my practice more of what I want it to be and not what I assumed was expected of me.  It has helped open up the rest of my life and allows me to be more a part of my children’s lives!

On an almost daily basis, Kirk is reminded of this experience he shared with me: I had a coach/mentor of mine say this to me years ago when my kids were very tiny and I was traveling all over the country to get this thing going (it really hurt me): “Kirk, why did you have kids in the first place?” I started to answer the question and he stopped me in the middle of my answer. He said, “I don’t need to know the answer to that question. You do.”

When time has passed, how do we want to look back at the opportunities or moments we missed?  We can position ourselves now to not have to look back with regret, but instead with gratitude for the times we were able to have. If you don’t know where your kids are at 3:00 pm, there is still time to make a change!

Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental. She is also a dental hygienist, motivational speaker, and writer. With over twenty years of serving in different roles in dentistry, she combines her experience to provide our community with best practices for a better life.


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