I need your help…

This is another installment of the homeschool posts, but I promise, you can help me even if you don’t homeschool. The first issue I need help with concerns time management. The second issue concerns yummy things for lunch. Summer is coming and we’re getting ready to move. Both of those things always make me more introspective about our lifestyle and what needs to change for our next assignment and school year.

TIME MANAGEMENT

For a while now…well, actually ever since she was born (there hasn’t been a day when she’s understood what it means to work within a schedule) we have had trouble getting Reagan to understand time management. I’ll give a little background and then ask for your help.

We do not know how to teach Reagan about time management. She has morning and evening chores to do and it takes her forever to do them. I’m almost not kidding. In the morning she has to take a shower (every other day), make her bed, brush her teeth, brush her hair, get dressed and pick up anything in her room that wasn’t picked up the night before. On days when she doesn’t have to take a shower that should take all of fifteen minutes and I think I’m being generous. You can rest assured that she’s never seen this side of fifteen minutes getting her chores done. The evening is somewhat similar.

If I ask her to do something during the day and let her know that it needs to be done quickly or that she can’t take her time on it guess what she does. She ends up getting distracted and losing focus. During school we see the same issue. It is so hard for her to keep her focus for very long during any subject except when I’m reading to her.

Yes she’s still young, but that can only be an excuse for about, oh, two seconds. There are plenty of kids her age who have to get up at a certain time and get ready to be at the bus stop at a certain time or else.

I’m wondering if we’re not being structured enough when asking her to understand structure. I don’t require her to get up at a certain time in the morning, although she always wakes up around the same time. I try to be flexible during the day because I want homeschool to be enjoyable (while still learning), AND I have a two year old you may have read about on this blog. It’s not easy. In fact, I used to be more structured about school and we were both miserable. Is she just not at the maturity level yet to get that I can allow our day to be flexible while individual tasks during the day still need to be done with focus and expediency?

WHAT DO YOU DO OR WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TIME MANAGEMENT and what consequences have you used? I feel like we’ve nagged enough. I’m over hearing myself talk and nag and control and scold and warn. Right now we use a chart and a timer, but they don’t seem to be making much of an impact.

LUNCH CHOICES

I am so sick of lunchtime. I dread it each day because I’m tired of peanut butter and jelly; tortillas and Nutella; chicken nuggets and cheese sticks. I’m looking for some cool things to have midday. Obviously I will not have a lot of time right around lunch to prepare them, but I’m willing to make sure I have the ingredients on hand to get things made. I would like our meals and snacks to be healthy(ier than what they’ve been) and I don’t want to have to do cutesy stuff like use sundae glasses or dye food green.

So, before I start searching the internet and pouring through magazines: WHAT ARE FOODS THAT YOU SERVE FOR LUNCH? It could be as simple as beans and rice because that’s different than what I’m doing now. All I’m looking for is ideas that I can then implement into a plan.

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Thank you for your suggestions,

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9 thoughts on “I need your help…

  1. Somedays our lunches are a simple as meat and cheese rollups…somedays cheese quesadillas….others sandwich wraps. Button Boy isn’t huge on dressings or dips, so I only have to please the pickiest of girls in that area! Good luch finding solutions to time management….I’d like to have some for adults, too!!! 🙂

  2. Lunch has always been hard for me too. I hate to cook and I don’t love sandwiches every day. Now I eat frozen dinners called “eating right” (from Vons or safeway). They taste good and there quite a few I really like.

  3. Mike says:

    Vicki –

    It could be a skill or will issue…it sounds like the expectations are realistic (we do the same with Ryan) but are the consequences meaningful and consistent? It could also be a motivation issue. Based on Ryan’s therapy we use a reward system to correct negative behavior and reinforce positive behavior. Age and skill appropriate, if he’s nice to the dogs all day, stays in his bed all night (except to potty), picks up the family room, etc – he gets a ‘coin’. When he’s earned enough coins, he gets a treat from the treasure chest (think dollar stuff at Target). If he exihibts negative behavior, we still make him do what he needs to do…but then doesn’t earn the coin (he’s not old enough to have his earnings ‘taxed’ for bad things). Ryan is incredibly goal oriented, and this seems to work for him. This isn’t the same as bribing…and there is a difference. You can also try longer periods of time to earn the reward (a special lunch at a favorite restaurant)…say for example, she goes 1 or 2 weeks with getting her chores done by the time the timer goes off, she gets to do ‘x’. If she doesn’t, the clock resets and they try again for another 1 or 2 weeks. It’s a different spin using positive reinforcement against negative (esp. given the way we were raised), but we’ve found it’s better for instilling those habit patterns we want him to maintain. That’s not to say there aren’t negative consequences in his life (I’ve lost count of how many times toys have gone in time out), but those moments are few and far between now.

    Rambling complete.

    Mike

  4. Phoebe says:

    Digital timers are great with teaching time management- esp. the ones that can clip onto anything. Consequences were the more time it took for work and school, the less time you had for play. For example, play time started at 2 and lasted till 3…IF your stuff was done. If not, the minutes start to tick. My 3 learned how to watch the clock and pay attention to time pretty well after doing this consistently.

    For lunch, we often had cheese, crackers and a fruit, various types of sandwiches, chicken nuggets, easy mac & carrot sticks, popcorn and grapes – balanced and healthy snack type foods. I sometimes let the kids plan and prepare the meals. We also would have color-themed lunches – orange would be goldfish, oranges, cantelope…., red would be strawberries, pepperoni, red bell peppers… it was fun to do grocery shopping this way: “kids, help me find purple foods!”

    I miss homeschooling…..

  5. dandelionmom says:

    Our FAV fun lunch is Bentos! yes-it is cute little plastic boxes that you have to fill-but you can make them the night before and they are fun fun fun to use–you can go simple or over-the-top with them. My kids love using all the tiny sauce bottles and hot-dog cutters etc. Night time chores happen quickly when making and filling Bento boxes happens right after-yes-the sink fills up with tiny plastic do-dads after lunch-but little guys even like washing them up! The boxes are cheap and come in fun types that everyone loves-they ARE addictive!

    Chore wise-the more I nag the worse it gets–all my reminders seem to give permission to leave things undone-I’ll always remind them again…I hope for things to come up that they miss out on because they need to finish their chores first-then the consequences are natural and a result of their own actions–and I can skip the lecture—That’s my plan and it works when I use the extreme discipline to allow them to procrastinate –I fail often and they learn and forget often and THAT is real life and what our job is all about.

  6. To get my kids to get their chores done in a timely manner, I use empty threats. 🙂

    No, seriously, I usually set a timer. If the big kids don’t finish like big kids, they force me to assume they are little kids, which means they need a nap and an early bedtime.

    Lunch around here is usually leftovers or soup. We’ll make seaweed soup, egg drop soup, potato soup, etc. Some sort of soup that is quick to make and uses ingredients we have on hand.

    Hope that helps, even a little.

  7. Hmmm…time management…. Hunter still takes a 25 minute shower every morning. But he’s learned he has to set his alarm clock 20 minutes earlier to accommodate. I used to always yell…”hurry up…or else you won’t have to time for fill-in-the-blank” But, that just made them depend on me to manage their time. In the end, you must let them fail in order to learn. “well… sorry you don’t have time for breakfast before school, you took too long in the shower.” “I’m very sorry we don’t have time to stop at YOUR store on the way to the grocery store – I know you were looking forward to it. I hope you are able to get your chores done so we have time next time” After a while they learn. Sometimes not. The hardest thing for me is to only tell them once, and then allow them to fail in order to learn.

    Lunch favorites at our house are soup (from the can – wedding soup is a favorite), grilled cheese, spaghetti-o’s, and lunchables (the kind they build their own pizzas). Perhaps not at the top of the healthy list, but there’s a lot worse out there.

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