March 30, 2011

Implementing Change with Lists

Another problem we've decided to address at our house is chores.  I think I mentioned that the minute Corrina comes home from school, she heads straight to her bedroom and we don't hear from her except at dinner time.  I am constantly going in there to say "Corrina, did you do your homework", "Corrina, it's time to take a shower", "Corrina, did you fed your fish today".  I am essentially nagging and she throws a HUGE fit every time I walk into her room with a request or question.  I am constantly wondering what I can do to fix this situation.  I ask her to do the same things every day.  She knows what is expected of her on a daily basis, so why the fight? 

I have realized that Corrina is a visual person.  If something is explained in writing, she seems to understand it better.  Just listening isn't enough for her.  I think this is why she has responded so well to the food tracking mat.  If I had realized this sooner, I could have saved myself so many words and both of us a lot of frustration.  So, I bought her a small notebook.  Every night, I make a list of the things she has to do in the morning before school and one for after school.  The list is essentially the same every day.  I sat down with her and we composed the original list together, talked about the things that need to be done and why. 

Her morning list consists of pretty obvious things such as making her bed, brushing her teeth, remembering her glasses.  Her afternoon list consists of things like homework, picking up her bedroom, some sort of exercise and helping with dinner, as well as personal hygiene items.  Every day, she can see what she has to do.  When she finishes the task, she marks it off and moves on to the next.  I don't hound her about getting things done.  My only stipulation is that the list is finished before bed.  This lets her go at her own pace and she feels like she's making her own schedule.  I am no longer nagging and the arguments have all but stopped because she helped make the list and she agreed to it. 

Life is so much easier when you take the time to learn a few things about your children and are willing to be flexible in order to accomodate their individual personalities.  If you have a suggestion, a product or a tool that will help with the list, I'd love to hear about it.  I'd love to come up with something more than just a notebook and a list that I have to write daily. 

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