I must give credit to the gal at the homeschooling convention. I don't remember her name, I'm not even sure I remember what else she said^, but this nugget was worth the price of admission which was $20!
She mentioned in passing that she instructs her children to do their First Five - get dressed, brush teeth, wash hands and face, make their bed, and eat breakfast. And my brain started spinning... I can do a Final Five, a Potty Five... Aaaaahhh! *squealing with delight*
You may not get as excited about an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper with Clip Art as I do. But with 5 small children (4 of whom can do many of these tasks without assistance), I am so tired of repeating myself. Instead of each item two times per child (5 phrases x 4 children x 2 times = 40 things to say). It is so much easier to say each child twice "Do your First Five." (1 phrase x 4 children x 2 times = 8 things to say). That gives me the opportunity to say 32 nice things to say that encourage instead of being a drill sergeant... and that's all before lunch!
|My First Five|
Imagine saying "Potty Five" instead of "Close the door." "Wipe your bottom." "Flush the potty." "Wash your hands." "Turn off the light." Every time your potty trained ones do their business????? In a word: Freedom!!!
True story: A few weeks ago, my husband and I saw the storm clouds rolling in, looked at the calendar full of evening activities, and realized that if we didn't mow right then and there, we would have to rent a goat. If I mowed and he weed-eated (weed-ate sounds funny), we could knock out our homeowner responsibilities in 30 minutes or so. But, it was bedtime and there were 4 munchkins (ages 6, 4, 3, and 2) in dirty play clothes. We put toothpaste on their toothbrushes, dressed the two year old in PJs, and said, "Do your Final Five or else..." We put the baby in the Johnny Jumper and went to it. When we came back inside 30 minutes later, *silence*. The only noise was a babbling, bouncing baby boy.
We were just as shocked as you are: It worked!
I usually give them ample time to do the tasks (20 to 30 minutes). It gives them an opportunity to learn to manage their time. So far, I have not regularly rewarded them except with a High 5.
*The police incident was a one-time deal. "First Five" has worked well at my house for 2 months (minus 1)!
^There was one other thing she said that was very profound, for me. It was something I needed to hear and maybe you need to hear it, too:
No one else on earth loves my children and wants the best for them as much as I do.
That fact makes me the best teacher they could ever have!