Let me preface this post by saying, I’m not about blind obedience. I *LOVE* that my son questions authority! Did you ever notice that most of the founding fathers qualify for ODD? With the right guidance, a stubborn, opinionated child can become an adult with convictions and passions. So on that note, I want my son to argue his heart out when we debate who is the best superhero. I hope he dazzles me with his persuasive skills when he argues for a later bedtime. But there are just some things that aren’t worth fighting over! Things like brushing his hair, getting his shoes on. Daily routines.
I finally found a way to not only get my son to stop arguing with me, but to get him excited to do the mudane everyday tasks he used to fight: picture charts.
First I walked around the house and took pictures of objects and places to represent the different activities throughout the day. Then I uploaded those pictures onto the computer and used paint program to add text to some of the pictures.
Our master plan for the day is the schedule. It has two ways of saying the time (7:00 next to a picture of an analog clock which also reads 7:00) then the text of what we will do next to a picture of that task. I really shouldn’t call this a schedule as its more of a guideline. Some days we might have lunch at 11:30, other days we might not have lunch until 1, but on the schedule its listed as 12 because thats the general time of day that we aim to eat.
Both the morning routine and the evening routine have their own interactive chart that list the small tasks which make up that block of the day. For example, the morning chart reads: feed cat, breakfast, get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth, make bed. As LittleMan completes each task, he gets to flip up the tab for that task to indicate that the task is “Done.” (I got the idea for these awesome charts from My Name is Snicker Doodle. )
My favorite part of the wall is how easy its been to get LittleMan to do his lessons each day. He’s never really fought me on brushing his teeth nor on going to bed at night, but school work is another matter entirely. I think part of the problem was that he couldn’t see his own progress. With our new system, he can see exactly whats in front of him and knows where the end goal for the day lays.
I simply put these boxes on his school shelf, each with a velcro number. He does the boxes in order, and as he completes them, he takes the velcro number off the box and adheres it to the wall chart. I have 10 boxes, however I rarely use more than 4-6 boxes a day. One box in the middle is always a “get up and move” activity to take alittle break. And the last box is usually an easy task which he mastered months before, so that he can end his school day on a positive note, feeling confident rather than discouraged. Some of the boxes will be things he can do by himself so I have time to tend to SunnyGirl, other boxes will be things that we will need to do together. All of the boxes will take between 5 and 20 minutes to complete.
For more information on what sort of lessons we do with our box system, look for my next post: 25 Box Lessons for a Preschoolerby