Good morning! Coffee is brewing and I am writing this blog post at 5am. Life with a newborn back in the house is amazing. Amazingly exhausting but amazing none the less. Since my husband works evenings and gets home at midnight, we split up the night time feeding shifts. That means my day starts at 4am. I thought being such an early bird would be terribly hard, but I actually enjoy it. The house is quiet and when everyone is back to sleep, I get to spend some alone time creating TpT materials, reviewing products, and writing blog posts. The rest of the day is spent snuggling my little ones, potty training, going to swim lessons, dance classes, and attempting to keep the house somewhat clean :)
Before the littlest one arrived, I began using visuals with my daughter. Kenzie turned three in April, but it felt like she turned 16. My sweet baby girl was transformed into what I like to call, a "threenager!" I love that she is strong willed and wants to be incredibly independent, but the protests, attitude, and tantrums were really starting to wear on my 8 month pregnant body. As a therapist, I emphasize to parents and teachers all the time how helpful using visuals can be to reduce anxiety and other issues that can cause behavior problems. Visuals can also provide some great motivation for kids. Well friends, it was time that I took my own advice. I sat down at the computer and created a weekly chart that addressed a daily schedule of activities I was having difficulty getting her to do. This chart allowed her to put a sticker next to a box after each task was completed. I chose this type of chart because currently stickers are highly motivating for her.
It was no surprise that this sticker chart worked like a charm. My husband was impressed and embraced this chart quickly! After seeing how successful this was, I quickly went to Pinterest to find a motivating potty chart (of course we decide to potty train with a newborn in the house!) I found this free Frozen Potty Chart printable here. "Time to go, Let it go…!"
Something else that has proven over and over again to be helpful with getting things done without tantrums is using a visual timer. I am guilty of giving Kenzie more screen time then I would like to lately so I can feed or bathe the baby, but I always set a timer. When the timer goes off, the iPad gets shut off. I am a big fan of the Time Timer because it is easy for little ones to see how much time is left. When the "red is all gone!" time is up. The visual makes the concept easy for her to understand.
Are you using visuals in your home? I would love to hear what works for you and your family!