Magnetic To Do List

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This is a little off my usual topics, but I just thought I’d share this idea with y’all in case (like me), you are having concerns about time management with school about to start!  My daughter is four and will start pre-k this year (on Friday!  eep!)  I noticed that it seemed like she hadn’t really developed her own morning and evening routines and that she was waiting on me to tell her what to do next.  Plus, once I told her, she didn’t appear to have much motivation to do it.  Very frustrating for both of us.

I saw a version of this idea on Supernanny awhile back, and I thought it was brilliant.  It gives kids a visual cue of what has been done and what needs to be done, and it also gives an incentive–everyone loves to check things off their to-do list!  Basically you have a magnetic dry-erase board divided into two sections: “To Do” and “Done”.  Then, you make magnets to represent different chores/tasks/responsibilities.  We use ours in the morning and the evening.  I place the magnets on her “to do” side, then, as she completes them, she moves the magnet over to the “done” side herself.

There are many ways to do a board like this (I pinned a few).  I just bought a magnetic dry erase board from Wal-Mart and sectioned it off using decorative adhesive tape (the bottom section is for magnets that are not in use).  The “To Do” and “Done” are alphabet stickers.  I hot glued a ribbon on the back in an arch shape to hang it with (sorry that’s not in the picture!)  For the magnets, I cut squares out of thick cardboard and mod-podged scrapbook paper and printed clip-art.  Then, I applied a magnet on the back with hot glue.  Here is a close up of the magnet:

Here are the magnets we made: brush teeth, comb hair, eat (breakfast/dinner), get dressed, pajamas, clean up, and get backpack ready.  You could make as many as you want, just make sure that the ones you need will fit at the same time.  For example, in the morning, we use brush teeth, comb hair, eat, and get dressed–all of these fit in the “to do” section.  If you use pictures, I would recommend discussing with your child the expectations that each picture represents.

Hang the board 1) where your child can reach it and 2) where everyone can see it–that way you know their status and can provide additional direction if needed.

We have been using this system for a couple of weeks now, and it has really kept my daughter on track.  It definitely changes the dynamic when she is making the choice to brush her teeth and put on pajamas rather than when I say it a million times and both of us end up frustrated.  This way, we’re both happy and she has a sense of accomplishment!  Win-win!

One final word: I think part of what has made this so successful for us is that I involved my daughter in this project.  I told her about the idea, we brainstormed it together, we went shopping for the supplies together, and she helped me make it.  From start to finish she knew what was going on and had an opportunity to provide input.  By the time it was finished, she was excited to use it because she had been involved in the process.

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