A few years ago, we went to visit good friends of ours, who had children older than ours, plus a new baby on the way. We were dropping off baby gear for them and made a lunch date of it. These are some of the smartest, funniest, kindest people I know, and I loved everything about their "Brady Bunch" house. I learned a ton from watching them with their sons, who are just ahead enough of my own to give me a good sense of what's coming down the pike. And one of my favorite things was on the wall at the end of the hallway between their two bedrooms. Where I have a linen closet with a mirror on the door, they had blank wall, and they used it as a picture gallery for their boys' most recent favorite creations on top. But right at boy height, there were lists. What to do in the morning. What it meant to pick up the rooms. How to get ready for bed at night.
Now a few years later, we're at the same point they were. Our kids are old enough that some days my head explodes at the idea that they don't know how to get themselves ready for bed, because, hello, haven't we been over this EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for over FIVE YEARS NOW? But of course they can't. Enter my husband, who, among other skills, is more patient than I am, is way better (according to my expert children) at bedtime than I am...and definitely better at drawing than I am. Hence, the six stages of bedime in our home:
(Excuse the Clor0x wipes to attempt to rid us of the plague, and hey, I never realized just how not-matched that replacement tile was. But I don't have a panorama lens so please pay no attention to the bottom two-thirds of the picture.)
And lo and behold, the kids look at this every night, follow it, every night, and even remind us which steps they missed, every night. It's not always with joy or without annoyance, but wow, it makes life easier over here. Bonus: it's so ingrained now that when I was sick and exhausted last month, the boys put me to bed, following their own checklist. I could have expired from the sweetness, even in my flu-ish fog.
And that works for me! What's working for you? Go share over at the new home of WFMW, We are THAT Family!