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Good idea #1: Getting ready wall chart

2013 March 4
by Rachel Turiel

wall chart

Getting Ready Wall Chart

Col is one of those dreamy artist types who doesn’t follow linear time. He gets distracted on his way from the couch to the bathroom if say, an interesting bit of fuzz on the floor catches his eye. Col is ready to leave the house at the approximate intersection of perfect planetary alignment and the completion of his latest 3-D, multi-media sea serpent. And I have no doubt that his artisty self will do great things, but getting out the door in a timely manner has been a little difficult.

My kids go to public school 2 days/week, and a homeschool co-op 1 day/week, which equals a fair amount of getting ready in the morning. We started our school year off with me impatiently tapping the fingers of my mind, issuing reminder after reminder to get ready, while a hot angry steam whistled out of my ears.

And then, on the advice of Kathleen Hennessy (of Positive Discipline fame, who is, YES!, coming back to Durango for more workshops the first weekend of May), we had the kids make their own Getting Ready Wall Chart.

The Ingredients

First, you ask each kid what they need to do in the morning to get ready for school. Col and Rose came up with: clean up whatever we’re playing with, brush teeth/hair, get dressed, pee, grab lunch and water bottle, pull on boots, mittens, jacket, hat. Col and Rose get up at 6am, and don’t have to be at school until 9am, so there’s plenty of play time built into our mornings. Their charts start at cleaning up from play time.

Second, you ask how much time they need to perform each of these tasks.

Third, add up the total time and count backwards from when you need to be walking out the door and that is when you start the process of referring to the Getting Ready Wall Chart.

Fourth, have your child write out (or draw) their own chart.

How It Works

If it seems a little simplistic and hokey, well, it has been working fabulously. Children like routine and they like being in charge. Col feels empowered to take care of his own morning plan and I get to stop nagging and reminding, which helps me set off for my work day without the hot, heavy irons of guilt and regret burning my shoulders. Although, if a child is standing around dazed like a deer in the headlights, I’ll prompt: “where are you at on your chart, honey? And if we’re late for school these days, it’s probably because I decided to squeeze a batch of yogurt-making into the circus of morning.



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