Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Off to Work We Go

After years of kind of "muddling through," we have finally figured out a morning routine that works well for our family.

Me-up between 5:30 and 6:30
Catch up on e-mails, blog, journal
Personal scriptures and prayer

Kids-up (around 7:00), breakfast, family scriptures and memorization
Curtis off to work
me and kids-chores
"Mad Movie"

Here were my challenges: For chores, Arden has always responded well to chart systems with rewards for accomplishing certain kinds of goals, while Maile has not. Nor do most bribes or threats really work for her, so I needed something that would work for both of them. (I found that one of the few bribes that worked was movie time, so I decided to exploit that and work it into my schedule!)

I needed something that would be a little bit flexible, so if the kids (or the parents!) woke up later then normal, or if we lingered a bit over scripture study or breakfast, we could still carry out our routine and not "feel behind."

Maile is a dawdler. Big time. I hate having to nag, nag, nag, for her to get things done, so I needed some sort of deadline and some way for her to self-direct.

I needed the kids to get into good habits without me having to remember to remind them every day...brushing teeth, making their beds, etc.

I needed to have some time in the morning for myself--to shower, get dressed, etc., since as soon as I get back from exercising, we make breakfast and do scriptures, so we can get Curtis off to work in a timely fashion.

Here is what I came up with that has been working splendidly.

I wrote both the kids' jobs and things they needed to accomplish in the mornings on index cards. (I drew pictures on Maile's cards). I had some popcorn bags laying around the house which I labeled with the kids' names.

When each of them accomplishes the task on their card, they have me check it off and insert the card into their popcorn bag. When all of their cards are in their bag, they get to watch "Mom's Mad Movie." This is always a (short) educational show. (Lately it has been "Liberty's Kids" on Netflix.) Maile is a very visual person, so she likes to see the cards so she knows what she is supposed to do. It is also nice for her to see the cards going one-by-one into her bag, so she doesn't get overwhelmed by her tasks, and she can see how little she has left. Arden knows the routine well enough he doesn't need the cards any more.

To solve the time issue, I created a fun itunes playlist with lots of "working songs." It starts with The Teeth Brushing Song, when we all dash into the bathroom to brush our teeth, then goes on to the rest of the playlist with songs such as Happy Little Working Song, Spoon Full of Sugar, High-Ho, Clean Up, Whistle While You Work, etc.

The kids know that the movie starts right after the last song, so if they've dawdled, as soon as they hear the last song on the list begin, they get busy real quick! It eliminates my nagging! I love it!

Their movie time is just enough time for me to take a quick shower and get dressed.

Then we start school.

So, that is our routine. We've been doing it for a couple of months now and it has worked better then anything we've tried thus far. I even got a "Mom, this is fun!" from Maile when we first began it!


Evaly said...

Love this! Maile sounds just like Kylie. She is hard to motivate. I think I might adapt this for our home. Thanks for sharing!

e.a.s. said...

I agree, this is great--I've been trying to figure out a way to get Sammy to get her morning things done before it's afternoon, I think the playlist will do the trick.