Alarms Are Better Than Chivvying

June 11th, 2021
kids
Lily recently told me that she wanted to be a big kid, and we talked about what that could mean. She decided she wanted to be fully responsible for getting ready and going to school in the morning. The biggest challenge was going to be timing: normally I walk her through the process, reminding her to do various things, getting her out and ready for school in time. Lots of "if you don't finish up soon you're going to be late" sorts of reminders. This didn't work especially well, and neither of us liked it.

We thought together of how this could work, and the standard approach of glancing over at the clock every so often to see how much time you have left didn't seem like something she would be able to do yet. We decided to use alarms. I set up three on her tablet: start getting ready (7:15), leaving in five minutes (7:55), and time to leave (8:00). I don't give her any additional timing reminders; everything is up to her now.

This has worked well: we started with this on Wednesday morning, and the last three days she's accomplished everything on her list and left for school on time. Today was a bit rushed, where she lost track of time listening to a podcast while getting ready, and hadn't yet packed her lunch at the "leaving in five minutes" alarm. Still, she left with enough time to get to school before her class went in.

If this started being more of an issue, I could see setting an alarm at something like 7:45 for "time to make lunch"?

This is the same approach we used for her school calls when the kids were watching themselves; previously whoever was watching her with keep track of time. It was a good improvement there too.

Both of those are cases where there is some external schedule we need to follow. When there isn't one, my preference is generally to just let the kids go on at whatever pace they prefer; that is what Anna does in the mornings now.

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