So even though I've been intentionally simplifying our lives since the girls were babies...I always say it's a process. And by that, not only do I mean that things change (kids grow, schedules vary), but we can ONLY do so much at once.
Simplifying is really about starting where you are. And starting small.
So let's start with weekday mornings.
They can be kinda of annoying. Especially if you are tired. Then there's lunches, getting yourself and the kids ready and out the door on time. However, it is possible for things to be a BIT smoother. Right?! Yes. Totally.
Simplicity Change Process
1. DISSATISFACTION Tired of telling them what to do and being rushed to catch bus.
2. IMAGINE IDEAL They get themselves and their bags ready independently on time, with minimal to no prompting.
3. SMALL DOABLE CHANGE A visual schedule of the morning flow and expectation. This is a common recommendation, especially in my world as an occupational therapist and one that I used successfully when the girls were toddlers for bedtime routine.
Here's what I quickly drew (you can laugh at my artistic abilities, but let's just assume we embrace imperfection ;) and I know I'm not alone in using the Franglais!
Every checkmark equals 5 minutes of playing an educational game. La souris-web is what they like to play. We upped the motivation by giving them two checkmarks for when they completed the lists independently and without prompting. Choose anything they find fun/rewarding/a novelty that suits your values as a family. This works well in our family because they don't do any screens during the week and they look forward to Netflix/computer games on the weekend which we're ok with.
Find what works. Keep it simple. Be creative.
Oh and once they've done everything but put their coats on, I set the timer to beep a few minutes before we need to leave as an auditory cue for when it's time to stop playing. And this works. For us.
4. CELEBRATE With a recognition for your efforts, any progress and know that it may be two steps forward and three steps back!
Like many of the families I see, we didn't use time outs or sticker charts because they just didn't resonate or work with a sensitive willful child. A visual schedule with positive reinforcement is different though. Praise and high five their efforts.
And when we fall away, which we most likely will, we will adjust and imagine anew.
P.S. A (free) casual conversation around creating a meaningful and simple Christmas...join us via video in comfort of your own home! Thursday, November 30th 8pm-9pm EST.