As I checked on sleeping Charlotte last night I glanced at her alarm clock. The alarm wasn’t set, and I felt my whole body want to reach down and turn it on. No … no … I actively, consciously said to myself. I don’t want that job. If I do it tonight then how will she know it’s her job? But then she won’t wake up! She’ll miss the bus! We’ll have another scene! Yes … maybe so… I walked out.

This morning, just as Fenner and Ellen walked out the door to catch the bus, I heard Charlotte begin to stir. She got dressed and came down. “Err, I forgot to set my alarm clock! Am I late?” “Well, the bus has gone, but you can still go in with me.” “Ok,” she said and went to work on getting ready. No big deal this time. How interesting.

I’m still trying to figure out, though, how do you give a child full responsibility for being on time before they’re able to tell time? I tried drawing her a picture of what the clock looks like when it’s time to go. It helped, but it would be great to come up with some additional way to help her gauge her own timing. Have to think about that. (Ideas welcome!)

We were about to go and then, “Mom, where are my library books?” “I don’t know. I saw them in your room before.” “Aaawwww, I’ll have to be just a browser again today.” “Well, do you want to take a quick look in your room?” I asked. “Will I be late?” “Umm…here,” I showed her the picture I drew of the clock. “Compare this with the clock on the wall.” “Uh … I don’t know … ok … I’ll go look.” I went up with her. The thought of those books being yet another week late was too much. She stood in the middle of her room hands at her side, looking lost. “So …. this is where I saw them,” I pointed to the top of the dresser. “Do you remember them being there?” She paused, “Yeah … but then I put them here.” She pointed to a pile of papers and I spied just the corner of one of the books sticking out. “Oh, you put them there?” I pointed toward the corner of the book. She lifted up the papers and said, “Oh… here…are these library books?” It had been so long, she’d forgotten what books she had out. “Yes.” I assured her. I just had to help get these books back to school today. After all, she remembered it was library day all by herself! Before, I made her library books my job. I wrote reminders to myself, and searched for the books and put them in her back pack the night before, and blamed myself when she didn’t have them. So already a big improvement. Next week we’ll start fresh and I won’t say a word and we’ll see what happens…

“Ok, I’ll be in the car,” I said and walked downstairs. I stopped to say goodbye to Jerry and she came running down the stairs. “Mom! You said you’d be in the car, but you’re not, and now I’m going to beat you!” I ran to catch up with my “dawdler” and we were off to school, with books, 10 minutes early.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 5: Roadmap for Success

One Comment on “Morning”

  1. Vicki Says:


    Two thoughts.

    1. I used music to cue my kids when they couldn’t tell time. They picked the music (Boz Skaggs, Bruce S., Steely Dan, Marshall Tucker Band – I am dating myself here). We chose those because it wasn’t something my kids were use to listening to so it was a complete jolt when they heard the music begin. We used one piece of music for 7 days. Before long, they could “feel” when the time was getting close to leaving.

    2. Try suggesting a white board. They write everything they have to do before they leave for school on the white board (could be done the night before as well as first thing in the morning. As they finish the tasks, the wipe them off. A real sense of accomplishment at the same time it is creating memory and habit. Same thing goes for after school. My kids still use the white boards.

    Hope that helps.


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