Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Starting A Daily Checklist

     CONFESSION: I am addicted to watching tv. Not watching cable or basic television, but I am addicted to having the tv on throughout the day and re-watching movies and shows that I own.  I have been that way my whole life.  My mother was trying to learn English when I was a small child and the fastest way she learned was by watching movies and television shows.  So that's pretty much all we did.  I liked to read at a young age but I rarely remember the tv being off.  So now when I'm at home I automatically think about what I want to watch.  Sad isn't it?  I really don't think it harmed my intellect; in fact I think I gained so much knowledge from becoming an entertainment enthusiast.  However, it caused me to acquire this awful habit.  4 years ago, shortly after the birth of my first daughter, I decided I wanted to change.  I have struggled for years trying to figure out a way to kick the tv habit.  I still struggle. But getting out of the house has been the best way to keep my eyes off the tv.
     Recently I was reading through a Facebook homeschoolers group to get some ideas to on how to limit electronics.  I don't remember who mentioned it, but one mom said she does not allow any tv time until her kids have completed their school assignments and chores for the day.  I figured something like that might work for me...

     I also realized that it would help my family start off a more productive day.  I made up a simple morning checklist for my daughters (4 years old and almost 2).

     One might ask why I placed clean house before eat breakfast.  Well, my girls have a tendency to make a huge mess in their room at night.  Makes me wonder if they sleep at all. ;) I was so tired of seeing the mess in the morning and battling them to clean it up, so now my rule is: No one eats breakfast until their room is clean and they are dressed and ready for the day. Same rule applies to my husband and me.  The first time I told my husband, "Nope. No breakfast until you have helped me make the bed." Haha! His reaction was great.  He said "Huh?" and then he realized it was a new family routine.  He smiled and joined in.
     We have been doing this for 3 weeks now and it has changed our lives! We all start out more productive, knowing what is expected of us in the morning.  And Marley (my 4 year old) just loves checking off those boxes once things are complete.  She thrives on routines, checklists, and incentives.    

     And the BEST part, I haven't even thought about turning on the tv until the morning routine has been completed! I'm making progress!!

     It worked out so well, that I made up a bedtime routine checklist as well.  Again, great results! Once in a while the girls just play and are not motivated to do the routine (especially bedtime), but we explain to them it is as simple as "If & Then." IF you don't do this, THEN you don't get that.  My husband has enforced that if M refuses to do any of her bedtime expectations without complaining, she will lose the privilege of song and story before bed.  So far, it has been effective.

     Side note: At Dylan's age (22 months) I would have never thought to expect her to follow a written out routine, but since Marley is participating, Dylan has been following her example so nicely.  She quickly sits with Marley to listen to her song and story and folds her arms for a prayer and she even tries to mumble her own prayer sometimes.  It is so precious! The benefits of having an older sibling are becoming apparent.   

Victory.  A shout out to the mom who shared her method of limiting tv. Whoever you are, thank you.  

I whole heartedly believe that regardless of where you are in life, if you continue to makes efforts to improve yourself (even little things), you are doing a fabulous job! Keep a positive attitude and press forward.