Getting back to basics

We’ve brought back the morning chart at our place, something that hasn’t been seen for a couple of years. It’s such a simple thing, but has the miraculous ability to cut down the shouting and guarantee a calmer, more efficient start to the day. Of course the chart has been through several metamorphoses over the years. During the preschool days it only had pictures on it for getting dressed, doing teeth and putting on shoes.

Most significantly, it was the same for every day of the week. It’s the hectic daily schedule that has been tripping us up lately. It’s no longer just a case of remember your schoolbag, shoes and lunch, it’s remembering togs for PE, book for library day, and music for choir. That’s even before the after school activities start! I found myself sprouting an endless diatribe of, “Remember, don’t forget, have you got” every day of the week. And believe it or not, I was the one always blamed when the togs were still wet or the shoes couldn’t be found!

So we’ve gone back to a very simple chart with the days of the week across the top, and what’s needed for every day down the side. Now I get to simply say, “Check your chart for today,” rather than giving multiple reminders. I thought the chart phase might be behind us, but when something’s not working it’s often a good idea to go back to basics and remember what has worked previously. With a bit of tweaking, it’s highly likely it will work again.

Funnily enough my nine-year-old daughter wanted to take it one step further and suggested we also bring back the sticker chart. “Can I get a sticker for every day I remember everything, then a treat at the end of the week?” Nice try, I said. Then we had a discussion about how as you get older you learn you have to do things because they need to be done, not because there is a reward at the end. I don’t think she’s quite convinced.