This last summer, I attended a session at a homeschooling convention. I don’t remember the speaker’s name, I’m not even sure I remember what else she said but this nugget I’m passing on to you was worth the price of admission which was twenty dollars!
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.
When she said this, my brain started churning.
I can teach my children a Final Five, a Potty Five…and….!
You may not get as excited about an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper with Clip Art as I do but with five small children (four of whom can do many of these tasks without assistance) I am very tired of repeating myself.
Instead of repeating each task two times for each child (do the math; five phrases x four children x two times = forty things to say), it is so much easier to say to each child twice “Do your First Five” (one phrase x four children x two times = eight things to say).
That gives me the opportunity to say thirty-two nice things to my children instead!
Imagine saying “Potty Five” instead of “close the door,” “wipe your bottom,” “flush the potty,” “wash your hands,” and “turn off the light” every single time your potty-trained ones do their business? One word; Freedom!
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 the grass right then and there, we would have to rent a goat to chomp it all down!
We realized that if I mowed and he used the weed-eater, we could knock out our homeowner responsibilities in thirty minutes, but, it was bedtime and there were four munchkins (ages six, four, three, and two) in dirty play clothes.
It was time to put our “Final Five” to the ultimate test.
We put toothpaste on the children’s toothbrushes, dressed the two year old in PJs and instructed them all to do their Final Five.
We put the baby in the Johnny Jumper where we could see him and went to work.
When we came back inside thirty minutes later we were greeted by silence (except for our babbling, bouncing baby boy).
We were shocked! It worked!
One thing to keep in mind when teaching children to remember their tasks is to give them ample time (twenty to thirty minutes). THis is also an opportunity for the kids to learn to manage their time.
The speaker at the conference also shared something that was very profound for me. I needed to hear it and maybe you need to, 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!
I am thrilled to introduce Clara Danielson as the first regular contributor to Generational Womanhood!
Clara is a Texas-raised transplant living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and 5 children (6 and under- no multiples) in a 2 bedroom 100 year-old mining house. She enjoys blogging, cooking, couponing, and garage sale shopping. Visit Clara at her blog Letters From the Armory.