I feel I left things on a sour note, and need to give you an update in the getting-my-toddler-to-do things department. Shortly after our walk, I instigated something I like to call “The Plan”. I had the idea that if Samson knew what the plan for the day was, he’d be less likely to be surprised by what was coming up next, and I figured if we wrote it down, he could held accountable for what was on the list. It sounds like a yet another self-help book, and who knows–maybe some day it will be, but for now, The Plan is a to-do list S and I write in the morning that we follow through to the afternoon. After nap time, we make another list. The Plan is always very simple and includes many steps. We started by writing it in a visible place (the chalkboard) so S could cross things of as they were completed. When he really took to it and it became a part of our daily routine, we moved on to a notebook that we carried with us. Sometimes I write the plan, sometimes he does. (His “scribbles” there actually say “a rest”, but he’s actually been remembering and following the plan even if what he writes are just scribbles.) He’s at a point where he’s interested in order, memorization, and writing–perfect for The Plan. “Ma, can you write: watch 844?” “Ma, can you write: eat banana?” Samson has always been like this–he’s particular. He has an idea of how something will be and if you deviate from what he imagined, he will most likely be upset. Understandable when you’re not in the critical meltdown moment. The Plan is a way for him and us to have input in, and stick to a plan as a family.
This has been working remarkably well. We’ve been getting a nap in every day at the same time, stuff has been getting done, there have been fewer meltdowns. Really, with The Plan, we’ve opened the door for routine, even if it changes from day to day. After about two or three weeks of The Plan, we’re now making lists verbally and pretty much sticking to them with little complaining.
Obviously, this idea is not new. Parents are always planning their kids’ lives, even if all it amounts to is okay, five more minutes and then bath. It was always there. I guess it just took a walk for me to remember.