Friday, April 6, 2012

Saving My Sanity with Routine Charts

Isaac is a good-hearted, well-intentioned boy who simply lacks focus. Early on I found he could not follow multiple directions. I could not say "Pick up your toys, put your pajamas on, use the toilet, and brush your teeth" and then expect him to do it without follow-up. I had to tell him to do one thing at a time, sometimes more than once...several times a day. I felt like I was constantly nagging him in the mornings, after school, and at bedtime. I often felt irritated and frustrated with him, but even more so with myself because I really didn't think his lollygagging was intentional. I called him Pokey Little Puppy. Needless to say, our relationship has often been bitter-sweet as we love each other but also have driven each other crazy.

For a couple of years now, I've considered making him "to do" lists to follow each morning, but I resisted for several reasons. Primarily, I didn't think it would work. Two weeks ago, however, I became inspired by to give it a shot. I used for templates to make computer-generated routine charts. I've made one for weekday mornings, after school, evenings, weekend/holiday mornings, and extra chores. I laminated each chart and stapled them to a bulletin board hung in his room. A dry erase marker sits on top for his use. I erase them every Sunday, and then he starts over.

Let me tell you--this has changed my life! My 10-year-old son loves being able to follow his charts to see his progress. The nagging has almost entirely stopped. He told me he feels like a grown-up now. My stress has gone down tremendously. He may not have any "screen time" after school or on weekend mornings until his chart is complete for that time of day. I've also linked his charts with allowance. Isaac has never had an allowance before, but I believe it's time for him to learn to manage his own money. Now on Sundays I give him four dollars. One dollar goes into a "charity" envelope. He can give it to church the next weekend or save it for another cause. Another dollar goes into a "savings" envelope. This will eventually go into a savings account at a bank that he will draw from to pay for his college books. The remaining two dollars are his to spend or save as he sees fit. However, for every "hole" on his charts for the week, he loses 25 cents. He may earn additional money by doing tasks on the extra chores chart.

Here is what I put on each chart:

Weekday Morning Routine
Get dressed
Comb hair
Eat breakfast
Dishes in dishwasher
Brush teeth
Make bed
Fill water bottle

After School Routine
Put away shoes/jacket
Empty water bottle and lunch bag
Eat snack
Clean up snack

Evening Routine
Pick up living room
Take bath
Brush teeth
Wipe sink
Clean eyeglasses

Weekend/Holiday Morning Routine
Just like weekday morning, but no water bottle, and I added reading, spelling practice, other homework (if needed), and pick up bedroom.

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