A while back (before last year’s school year ended) when we had a lot to do and places to go, I decided to use the white-board (dry erase) in the kids room to explain to them how the day would play out. I drew a chart with the times of the day – every 30 minutes – and wrote next to the proper times what main events we had to do. They wanted to play with their friends for as long as possible (where we were going after school), and I wanted them to get their school work and chores done before we left. The chart showed them what time Daddy would get home and when dinner would be served as well. It showed them when I had to start cooking (and what time we would have to leave their friend’s house to get home for me to cook).
Seeing the day on the dry-erase board, they understood how many thirty minute increments there were between ‘NOW’ at 8:30AM and ‘THEN’ at 5PM (when we had to leave their friend’s house to get home).
I also made them an assignment list and wrote their chores on the board so they would see what was expected of them. As they did the chores, they crossed them off. As they completed school work, we highlighted it on my lesson planner.
Each thirty minutes, we crossed the time off of their dry-erase chart. Doing this told them at a glance how much time they still had left with their friends if we left right then!
It is amazing how well and fast they worked when they:
1. KNEW WHAT WAS EXPECTED OF THEM UP FRONT
2. UNDERSTOOD CONCRETELY THE CONCEPT OF TIME
3. HAD A GOAL IN MIND.
It made me think… aren’t we all like that? Sometimes we expect those little playful minds to grasp big grown up concepts like time and responsibility without ever really sitting down and TEACHING them the concrete realities of it all. They just needed a little visual object lesson, a little experience (and even a few natural consequences to suffer through), and some motivation or reward to work for! Kids are no different from their parents!
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