I am not the most organised person in the world (as Mr G often reminds me), and the morning rush to get ready for school & kindy can be quite stressful. It was bugging me that I seemed to be nagging and growling so much - not a nice way for anyone to start the day, including me!
The other day I thought, "There has GOT to be a better way..." We use The Macarena as our tidy-up song. I turn the volume up way loud and the kids scurry and race to be the first one finished tidying up before the song ends.
Much more fun than all that nagging - even I was sick of the sound of my voice going on and on!
So I had a chat with the kids and asked them for their input: What songs would be good for using in the morning to help us get ready?
They suggested Hi5 One Step Forward for cleaning teeth and I like to Move It for being at the door with jackets, bags, shoes and socks on, ready to go. They wanted to stick with the Macarena for getting their rooms tidied.
We agreed it would be a race each day to find the winner - who can be at the door first all ready, teeth brushed, rooms tidy? I made a star chart to record each day's winner and on Friday night that person will get to eat off the Star Plate.
We painted the Star Plate together a while ago at Paint the Earth (a make-our own version of an idea from Parents Inc.). We still hadn't figured out a way to fairly allocate it's use, so it's been sitting on the windowsill looking pretty.
I am the queen of mix CD's - I like to put all my favourite songs together on one disc, so I can play what I'm in the mood for (I know, I haven't moved up to MP3 players yet). So I put together 40 minutes of music - the first 25 minutes is nice calm stuff to help me in the morning. The last three songs, I crank up the volume for - those are the racing songs.
Well, it went great! It actually helped me be organised and stay on track. The songs were great audio cues to tell me how much time I had left. For the first time we were all ready to walk out the door, rooms tidy, teeth brushed by 8.20am!
Dash was so early to school we beat the guys who do the lollipop signs at the pedestrian crossing.
No growling, no nagging - they took responsibility for getting themselves ready. Woohoo!
A much better start to the day... long may it continue!
Hey we did even better today... Dash was ready and at the door on the first song; his room was tidy and teeth cleaned without being reminded once! Such a nice way to start the day; I even got breakfast before we left!!
Did have to nag slightly this morning - but only Dash, and not really about getting ready. After winning the race two days in a row Dash had grown a bit complacent in his winning ability and was stunned to realise that this time Miss Fab was the winner! She had tidied her room and brushed her teeth all by herself. A nice big star for Miss Fab!
MANY MONTHS LATER...
The Get Ready CD is now so firmly entrenched in our family's culture, there is no need for stars, stickers, or rewards. All I have to do is crank up these three songs and the kids scurry. Not only that, but when they have friends over I put on the tidy-up song and even the friends scurry!