Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wake up, wake up! It's a bright, big, beautiful day!

If you're a parent of small children who watch/watched Lazy Town, you may recognize the reference in the title of this post. This song has become our family's get-going theme, and it's so bouncy and catchy, you can't help but want to bounce out of bed when you sing it.

Not everyone is bouncing out of bed so easily, however, with school starting. This is a cool idea I found in FamilyFun magazine, and tailored to my kids.

It's a checklist placemat, perfect for solving two of our morning problems in one: milk spatters all over the kitchen table from the bowl of breakfast cereal, and helping our kids to know and do what we expected of them every morning before school. FamilyFun just had a written checklist, but with one emerging reader, and one still learning her letter sounds, we needed something more visual. So, I took pictures of the kids doing everything I expected of them in the morning. That was the really fun part for them.

Then, on the computer I made a checklist out of thumbnails of their pictures next to the written task that they check off as it is done. Then I printed it on a white 6x12 sheet (I found that it would have been better if I'd stuck to an 11 inch sheet, but it was simple to format to fit a 6-inch wide list in Photoshop), and mounted it next to a full sheet of scrapbook paper on poster board. Then I took them to Kinko's and had them laminated. This was the really fun part for me. However, it was more expensive than I was anticipating because you can only use the self-serve lamination for 11x17 or smaller. My placemats were 12x18, so if you're making them you can just make them an inch smaller both ways, or use clear contact paper instead. Stick a Velcro dot at the top and on a dry-erase marker, and you're good to go!

My kids have really liked the placemats and the dry erase markers. Katie loves feeling grown up as she "reads" and checks off her list independently, and it has really helped with getting Isaiah completely ready and off to the bus stop on time.

P.S. If you notice in the picture of Katie above, pointing at the chore chart: yes, we have a chart reminding us to use a chart. I'm a little chart obsessed. I haven't even shown you our lunch chart yet, just wait! My obsession has gotten so bad that when I showed Isaiah the lunch chart he got all excited messing around with it, and then said, "We should make a chart showing us what to put on here!" Yeah, a chart for our chart. He really takes after me. He even wrote a list today of his invented superhero's super powers. Whew, I'm getting jitters to make another chart, somebody stop me!


Jake and Stephanie Perrin said...

THATS AWESOME!!! Your so Creative! :)

Enjoli Veazie said...

You should make me some charts, maybe it will help with my crazy out of control family lol.

Shane Ellis said...

Maybe you should have Adam write you an app for that.