Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WFMW: Musical Mornings

This past fall, I grew discouraged over the length of time it took my kids to get ready in the morning. When I came across a CD program online that set a morning routine to music, I thought "Great idea, but I'll do it myself!" The tasks featured in the program would not have been all that helpful to my family, but my husband James and I took the concept and created one of our own tailored to our family.

First I made a list of all the tasks that the kids needed to accomplish in the morning and listed a time frame that I thought would be appropriate for each. Next, I located short, upbeat classical pieces or kids' songs that would fit the time needed. James found a blank tape and recorded his voice cheerfully greeting the children and instructing them step-by-step through the morning chores with music following each instruction. (Since the kids hear my voice for the majority of the day, we decided to have James give the instructions.) Some of the chores differed with each child. For instance, James told my daughter to brush her hair while the boys cared for the guinea pig. Finally, I made a chore chart on the computer with each child's chores listed and a place to check them off when completed each day.

The original CD program recommended rewarding the children with a one-on-one date with a parent as a reward when a certain number of points were achieved. We used that reward once with each child, but then changed our minds. We told them that we didn't want them to feel like they had to earn time with their mom or dad. We wanted to just spend one-on-one time with them whenever we felt like it. I suggested that we change the reward to a book for each child which they thought was a good idea. Recently, after about a month of work, each kid earned a book.

As to the effectiveness of the tape, it works wonderfully! Though it took some time to set up, we are extremely pleased with the results.
The tape reminds the kids what needs to be done in an orderly fashion and they are motivated to get each chore done in the time frame to earn a point. There has been less "forgetting" and more timeliness without nagging. I've been able to take care of the baby without distraction, knowing that they are getting their jobs done!

We have used the morning routine tape in our family Monday through Saturday (later start on Saturday) since early October. My seven year old daughter says that she has the tape memorized and doesn't really need its prompting anymore. Maybe we ought to test that claim sometime! My nine year old son still likes the tape. Prior to the tape, he was the most likely to space his duties and dawdle. The tape has been a cheerful, upbeat way of keeping him on task. My ten year old son appreciates the tape, because it helps them to get going faster, which allows a timely start and finish to homeschooling each day. He says that he doesn't want to ever quit using the tape! Of course, they all enjoy the positive reinforcement of rewards.

Works for me! To read more helpful tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Click on the pictures to see previous WFMW entries:

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9 comments:

Jane said...

Great idea, I should try this for morning jobs in the classroom. Then while the tape calls each table up to hand in homework or put backpacks inthe closet, I could be taking attendence and reading notes etc..

Nikki said...

Genius! I love this idea. I'm going to try it.

laughing mommy said...

Great idea. I've never heard of it. If my daughter gets any slower getting ready for school I might have to make on of these for her.

Clemntine said...

Oh, we are SO doing this! I have an iHome iPod radio-speaker-thingy in the kitchen and this will work perfectly. I'll set up a playlist with Daddy's voice providing the prompts...I can hardly wait!

Sara said...

Good idea! WAY better than my NAG NAG NAG method...

My WFMW is a little less day to day specific, but come on over!
http://smcarney.blogspot.com/2007/02/common-denominator-of-potatoes-and.html

Kerri said...

My daughter loves any novelty for doing her work, so I am going to try this!

Kathleen Marie said...

Sounds like a wonderful idea. I remember when I was in Junior High, we didn't have a bell between classes but music - Classical Gas. It was so much nicer than a bell and somehow gave you a nice step to your day.

Kara said...

What a neat idea! I think I might do something like this for myself, might help me get going in the morning!

CalicoKat said...

we're using this too--what kinds of things do your kids come up with for the private date/reward.

My kids always want to go shopping and I don't feel that's very healthy.