Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Routine Battles

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children's personal care choices.

Daniel has been struggling a lot lately with personal care activities (such as teeth brushing, hand washing, using the potty) because of the changes from our recent move. As a result, I wasn't feeling particularly insightful about this month's carnival topic! Thankfully, my friend Jorje of Momma Jorje offered to share a trick that's working for her and her daughter Sasha these days. Please read to the bottom to learn more about today's guest writer.


It wasn't until our recent move that I finally got a good, steady routine going with Sasha. We now brush teeth and hair as well as go potty before bed. The potty part was the hardest for me to remember! I just GO when I have to go.

I had night weaned her only recently, so she was no longer waking to nurse. She would wake to pee, though, or even wet the bed if I didn't make sure she went before going to sleep.

Not long after the move, I started limiting bed time nursing to only 10 minutes. This occasionally made for battles, too, as she is learning to fall asleep without a nipple in her mouth.

And that is the short story background to get to this: sometimes we have tooth-brushing battles. She loves to "brush" her own teeth, but would fight letting me brush them. I am sad to say that I have argued and yelled at her. The only thing that seemed to work was threatening to not let her nurse before bed. I even tucked her into bed a few times before getting her to let me brush her teeth! I felt awful about it, though. That is not the parent I want to be.
While chatting with some other Natural Parents Network volunteers online, one of these friends suggested a bedtime routine list. I took her brilliant idea and ran with it! I wanted to make the routine fun.


Momma Jorje - Checkmarks

I started out by printing some images, but I'll get back to those. The fun crafty part started by making 3 checkmarks using 4 x 6 notecards. I colored them each a different color and set them aside.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I made a square template using notecards and traced them to make "blanks" on trimmed-down posterboard. I used regular white glue spread thin on the backs of my images to glue them next to the blanks.

Note that I looked for images to specifically assist in our struggles. The hair and teeth pictures are of a woman brushing the child's hair and teeth. I think it might be fun to use actual photographs from your own bedtime routine.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I stuck self-adhesive Velcro® to the back of each checkmark. If I were to improve on this project, I would have taken the Velcro® size into account and made the checkmarks fit better.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I lined up the checkmarks where I wanted them and set the other side of the adhesive Velcro® in place with them. Then I mounted (taped) the checklist on the bathroom door at Sasha's level.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I also mounted a pocket for the checkmarks. I used notecards again, but made the top piece slightly larger than the back piece to allow extra room for my checkmarks. This pocket is mounted out of reach.



That first night, she was so excited! Sasha was more than happy to do her bedtime routine and check each item off the list. I let her choose what order in which to do these things.

The next morning, she wanted to do the checklist again! That was great, as these same steps were great for a morning routine for us. (Our list only has brush teeth, brush hair, and go potty.) Later in the day she wanted to do the checklist every time she went potty! She at least wanted to place that checkmark every time.

The second day she was back to battling our bedtime routine. I am hopeful that the list will still be fun, but I think timing bedtime better might also help in our case.

How do you manage the bedtime routine in your house?
 

About today's guest writer, Jorje:

Momma Jorje is a slightly crunchy momma (and wife!) embracing her crunchiness and striving to be ever crunchier. She is passionate about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby signing, elimination communication and general attachment parenting. She is currently obsessed with hitting the road full time to unschool with her family.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)

19 comments:

  1. Such a fun idea!! So, how has it worked since then? I wonder, if the checklist gets boring, if you could add in something different for each day of the week, or something fun like a story, or maybe a "mystery" item that is different each night.

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    1. The checklist has become a little more routine now (less battle), but she is still excited to place them. We do the checklist in the mornings sometimes and we definitely use it when we're getting ready to go out somewhere. We used to skip her hair all the time!

      I like that our checklist is vague enough to use at different times of day, too.

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  2. That's a great idea. We had a similar routine going for chores and cleaning, using an iPad app. The kids loved checking off their items on the list, even if they didn't care so much for doing the work beforehand.

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    1. I always hear about such great apps you can get! Alas, I don't have a fancy phone. That sounds like it would also be really easy to edit as you change what you want on the list.

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  3. I like this checklist idea too. I'm filing it for when our toddler is of the "me do it" age. When our older daughter hit this point, what helped me was to "take turns" with her in other areas of daily life, such as playing with toys and buttering bread. I would say, "Okay, Mama's turn!" and she would let me brush her teeth because (I think) she was familiar with the concept of turn-taking. But our routine wasn't without it's battles too. Stick with it, the rhythm will eventually come in time. You're doing great!

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    1. We do "Momma's Turn," but sometimes she battles that. The weird thing is that she isn't even in much of a "me do it!" stage. She seems to be skipping it and wanting us to do everything for her, except the stuff we feel the need to do. :-P

      The rhythm has definitely improved since the list went up, though!

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  4. What a great idea and a fantastic looking checklist! I know having a visual of what I've accomplished (and an idea of what is yet to be done) helps me, so I can see how it would be really beneficial for children, too. I have seen similar things done in the classroom, but never thought to bring it home. The velcro on the checkmarks is my favorite part!

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    1. She loves putting the checkmarks on and then we look over it when we're finished and she says, "Check! Check! Check!" to show that we completed everything. :-)

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  5. This is such a great idea! We have never implemented a bedtime. They tend to go to bed either when we do or when they fall asleep on the couch (we then move them to our bed). But, I am trying to get better about making sure they brush their teeth every night. And I need to be better about asking Kaylee if she needs to go potty if we're going to get her potty trained!

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    1. I was so bad about remembering to have her potty before bed! We haven't had wet sheets once since we started with this routine. Although, honestly, we've skipped twice. Once I was so tired I'd been falling asleep before she was tired. The other time... I knew she was really tired and I wasn't up for any argument that... okay, I was just lazy I guess. But we've been sticking to it pretty well otherwise.

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  6. That is such a cool idea! I think any kid would get a kick out of those fun velcro checkmarks. I kept thinking we needed some sort of poster or bedtime routine book, but I never did get around to making one. I have to say, though, that having a routine, even a flexible one, has helped SO much in easing Mikko into bed and sleep (and in keeping my own stress levels down). I just wish he'd let me brush his teeth a bit more thoroughly…maybe that could go on our poster!

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    1. As soon as I mention it, her #1 concern is "Mommy Milk." If I say anything about getting ready for bed, she flips out as if I'm going to put her to bed without it. That is probably my fault for the times I have threatened to do just that.

      I would definitely recommend a photo of a MOMMY brushing the child's teeth if that is your struggle.

      I also considered stickers for the boxes. 3 stickers per night and just fill the boxes up. I like that with the check marks it is very clear what has been done and what hasn't been done.

      She loves the check marks! I'm glad I put them at the top of the door. The next tricky part is to take them off the poster soon after the checklist is complete - so it is ready for the next time.

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  7. I have grand plans for visual schedules like this...I just haven't managed to get around to doing them. You'd think that now that Acorn is working on learning to use PECS at school for communication, I'd get moving on it, but there are only so many hours in the day.

    I have friends who have great success with even complicated bedtime lists - one took photos of her child doing each of the things in their routine, and that was an even bigger success, because he identifies with it so much.

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    1. I see you work as well, so I can definitely see how it would be hard to make time for a project like this! Perhaps if you make it a project you do together it would help?

      And yeah, I considered getting pictures of us doing each thing, but... Downloading images off the internet was quicker.

      Once I got the supplies together, the project didn't take long at all.

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  8. I love the velcro checkmarks! Even though I'm not a list person, my daughter always loved checklists (and still does as an adult). The velcro really adds to the appeal! :) Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

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    1. Sasha loves sticking those check marks on! Sometimes she sticks them off to the side a bit, peels them back off and says "it not working!" That is one of her catch phrases right now.

      I need to remember the velcro because I'm thinking it could probably help with a lot of stuff. Actually, right now I've got a curtain velcro'd to the wall in our bedroom - as well as a pull shade velcro'd down so it doesn't hang into our bed. (We live in a travel trailer.)

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  9. I love your velco check marks and chart! I have thought about using similar for bath time and bed time, but I never took the time to make the charts.

    We did create a 'bed time' and a routine to go along with it. We have found timers really helpful. We started with just having a "reading timer" (because apparently all of the books that our daughter chose to read were "really, really short" and she'd request book after book after... well, you get the point and then be upset when we were on our last one). The timer fixed that. We just read until the timer beeps, finish that book, nurse and go to sleep. We found it pretty easy to then add to the routine. We even have a "tidy up timer" now that kicks off the bed time routine and leaves our living room floor visible for the next day :)

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    1. Great idea! Right now our routine includes ME cleaning up just before starting HER routine. :-P

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  10. A velcro checklist is a grand strategy. I can just imagine how this will add fun routine for little one when she's old enough. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome idea!

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