Parenting with Lists
I have had a recent breakthrough in parenting. If your mornings are like mine, getting out the door for school by 7:25am is a beast. I feel like a drill sergeant all the time.
“Grab your shoes!”
“Your socks don’t match. Get some that do!”
“Yes, I’m serious. I don’t care if everyone else does it!”
“Do you have your homework in your backpack?!”
“Move it! Move it! Move it!”
You get the idea. I am exhausted by the time we get out of the garage. I am tired of being a drill sergeant/naggy lady. I want to have a nice quiet morning with my kids. And by no means does that mean we need to wake up earlier. That would make everyone cranky, especially this mama who likes her sleep, but rarely gets it.
So for this elementary-teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom, I knew I had to get back to my roots. What would I have done with my students if they were not achieving what I asked of them? I decided to come up with a check list for being ready each morning. I experimented with it once before (I love lists myself) by listing exactly what the kids needed to clean one Saturday morning. Normally, those turkeys can take hours “cleaning” up the playroom and their rooms. Read: whining and playing with the toys that should be cleaned up. I end up getting frustrated that they are not obeying, and they get frustrated at my nagging. No more! I needed it done efficiently and in a timely, peaceful manner. And guess what? Those little guys cleaned everything we asked for and more because they were able to break it down step by step with small successes and a checkmark as a reward. It was amazing! They also got a tally mark on their chore chart, which amounts to a whopping 10 cents a chore. They are ages 5, 7, and 9, so they don’t realize how cheap my husband and I are yet. Don’t worry, we have discussed raising the wage.
Anyhoo, I decided that since cleaning had gone so well with a checklist, that it was time to try it with the dreaded morning routine. The results were astounding! Not only have they taken responsibility for their morning routine, I am much more pleasant (no more nagging!), and we have actually gotten out of the door EARLIER than normal! I am stoked. For now, this works and I will stick with it until it doesn’t anymore. It’ll probably be next week.