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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rockin' the Checklist

I made the rockin'est checklists for my boys. Seriously, they have everything shy of breathe and blink listed. Use one of these lists, and you just can't go wrong. There are three of them--morning, after school, and evening. I printed them, placed them so very carefully into page protectors, and inserted them into notebooks. I even made cute covers that say "[#5]'s Organized Life." Oh, and each book has its own dry erase marker.

So, as you can probably guess, the kids can mark on the page protector as they finish a job and move on down the list. When the day is done, they simply erase the marks, and voila! They're ready for the next day. Easy, right?

If followed correctly, the kids have everything they need by the door waiting for them in the morning. Their lunches are made, homework's in their backpacks, prayers are said and teeth are brushed.

The first day was HEAVENLY! It was a novelty, so they were
totally on board. Things were done early. There was time to play when all the work was done. They were happy, and I was oh, so very happy--almost to the point of joyful. I thought I had it all worked out....no more bumps in the road, no more late mornings.

I even went out and purchased a couple of alarm clocks since these two boys didn't have their own. Yes, the scene was set. Life was going to be absolutely blissful and worry free.

....And it will be.....Once I can teach them to self-manage, and I will. Believe me. If it kills me, I will.

The older boys have it pretty much figured out. The oldest of the three thrives on lists. It keeps things very solid for him. The middle of the three is of an age where he's learning to enjoy the consequences of good choices. But, the youngest of the three? Well......

Therein lies my challenge. I figure, though, if we can get on top of this together and let enough negative  and positive consequences come to pass, they will eventually teach him the value of these lists. The hope is that eventually he'll see the difference between how he feels when he does it and when he doesn't do it.

Let me give you a little illustration. Now, I'm laughing about it, but this morning, I wasn't.

We headed to school. The older brothers had it ALL together. They were smiling and laughing and life was great. The younger brother was doing the same, but then I double checked to see if they had their lunches. They got out the door so smoothly, I just felt that they must have forgotten something.

The older boy assured me that all was well, but younger boy shot me a look.....A look I recognize SO very well. It's the I'm-trying-as-hard-as-I-can-to-fly-under-your-radar look. So, I asked again, "Did you get your lunch?" He sheepishly answered, "No." Head was bowed and everything.

I said, "Well, run home and get it. We're not that far away. We'll walk slowly."

He continued the look. I encouraged a bit more, and then he said, in almost a whisper, "I didn't make one."

It was marked off on the chart last night. It was done. Why can't they make dry erase markers that only mark if you're telling the truth? Just think of how that would clear up about a million and a half things in our world!

After quite a bit of persuasion on my part, he finally went home.

He took FOREVER. I wondered if there were some kind of technical difficulties at home, so I broke one of my own rules and sent the older brother walking to school by himself. I walked back and intercepted the younger brother as he came around the bend. I opened his backpack and found a bagel and a box of raisins in his brown paper sack.

Do I need to continue this story?....It gets better.....

As I walked up onto the front porch with him to help him make sure that
he had an appropriate noontime meal (that first graders eat at 10:30am), I was a bit surprised at what I found....Two white garbage bags tucked ever so carefully under the bench on the deck. Huh? No. Uh uh. That is so NOT what I'm seeing.

Oh, yes it is.

One of the things on the checklist in the evening is to ask mom for a job to help around the house. This same child was given the job of emptying the garbages around the house and taking them out to the can.....Well....I think you get my gist here.

Not only did he have a lunch to finish making, but he now had some garbages to take out as well. Lucky boy! Look at all of these fabulous learning opportunities he's giving himself. Ugh!

He gave me a hard time about having to take those garbages out until I, ever so lovingly, explained that garbage attracts all kinds of small animals--rats, mice, etc. With trash that close to the house, the vermin will eventually get into the house....and then....you know whose room is the first they will find?

Well, let's just say that was enough to motivate.

The garbage went out, the lunch got made, and since I wasn't leaving until I had to take little sister to preschool, he even had time to empty the dishwasher.

We both got to the school in time for me to be there for my volunteering assignment in his classroom.

Yes, darn it! These lists WILL work. Do you now see why I say "If it kills me?"

Having seen them work so well those first few days, I still have hope.

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