Anna is originally from Utah. She moved with her family to Indianapolis in 2007. Her 9 year-old son and 5 year-old twin girls keep her very busy and her house a little bit more messy. Anna likes to take photographs (even though she can't use Photoshop), appreciates good music (although she cannot sing a note) and always likes to find new, fun things for her family to do (except skydiving or bungee jumping because that's never going to happen). Contact ohhbetsy at hotmail dot com. Instagram @ohhbetsy Twitter @ohhbetsy

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Making Before and After School Less Hectic

This post is sponsored by Boogie Board. I receive compensation for this post but the opinions and ideas in this post are my own.

I am not a morning person. I’ve passed that on to 2 out of 3 of my children. School starts in late July where we live so getting up early isn’t so bad but come winter, it’s downright difficult. And actually, I still feel a little cheated by getting up for school for all of August when many are still enjoying staying up late and sleeping in as is our schedule in the summer.

So what’s helped me in the past for after-school routines, I decided to apply to before school since my son’s bus is now coming a half an hour earlier than last year. My son, who shares my love of sleeping in, has to ask me a dozen times (or I have to tell him a dozen times) morning procedures even though he does them every day. I’m not sure when this will end and if it’s just his age (9) or just his personality. Either way, writing a quick, simple to-do list on his Boogie Board before he leaves for the bus has helped us tremendously.

Morning routine made easier #myboogieboard

I discovered a couple of years ago that it was so helpful for me to write down what my son needed to do to earn screen time after school instead of him begging me every 10 minutes if he could play on the computer. Although it was pretty much the same stuff he had to finish – homework, things put away (like his backpack and shoes), practicing the piano, etc., he still asked me every day. And that’s when my list-making for after school responsibilities started. I originally used with a small dry erase board but using his Boogie Board – the Jot 8.5 allows me to stick it on our garage door in the morning and put it on the fridge for when he gets home because of the magnetic strips on the back.

This year, he’s been begging to do extra work around the house so I also have to come up with those extra jobs in addition to his usual chores. So, I leave it up to him if he is going to do this and mark it with a $ sign  so that it puts the responsibility upon him to take the initiative. I was tired of having him break down later saying he never had a chance to earn money. Now, I just write it down and he has the choice to do it or not and I am relieved of any guilt trips. We also use the after-school list on his Boogie Board to write down any scheduling for that evening (lessons, special events, scouts, etc.). I also use it to write any reminders of special to-do’s and also give him encouraging notes if it’s been a hard day for him.

After school schedule #myboogieboard

I found this worked so well during the summer too that it is really something that we depend on to help us all stay on the same page. Things go much smoother, and he enjoys crossing things off the list.

My twins start pre-K next week and they also have their own Boogie Boards (their older brother’s birthday present to them). So they each have their own and their own color. We are going to start the same before/after school routine with them – having lists for them to complete so I don’t have to ask over and over if they’ve brushed their teeth. However, they don’t read yet. So, they have to put up with drawings. Please don’t laugh too hard at my terrible drawings. My girls understand they have to make their bed, brush their teeth, comb their hair and get their lunch and backpack ready. They love having a list to cross off like their brother.

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When I was first married, I realized that a source of contention in many marriages is rooted in poor communication. I observed a married couple have a disagreement because expectations weren’t set out clearly and therefore, the two ended up mad at each other. I think this applies to our kids. I want my kids to know what is expected and be responsible for getting things done. Although these are small things in a daily routine, I want to be free of contention and communicate to my kids in an effective manner. I’d love to hear about what works for your family.

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