Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Best Idea Ever

Quite a long time ago, Tiffany heard about an idea out there that we decided to try. It was the best idea ever. However, as often happens, we get out of the habit of doing a good thing due to, well, ... not sure why - but I know it happens.

Like most families, we want our kids to help clean up the house. They make 99% of the mess, it only seems fair that they help. We also want to be ahead of schedule, not running around last minute trying to find everything we need to get out the door or whatever. So we try to implement a routine. A routine that gets us to do the daily mundane tasks that need to get done. Once the jobs are done, then we can get onto other, more fun items for the day. But if you are like us, trying to maintain a routine is hard to set up, let alone carry out day in and day out. Most of you are probably better than us, so no need to read the rest of this.

Here is the good idea which directly impacts your home life, the cleanliness of it, happier kids, and in return, happier mom and dad.

A CD. Of music.

Yep, that's it.

Well, mostly. Add in some instructions of chores that need to get done and voila- instant routine that is easy to follow.

We do both a morning and night time routine. Here is how it works.

You push play at the right time on a CD you created, the routine begins, and you finish the routine at the right time every day.

We recorded the kids voices and recorded them to a CD where they give themselves instructions to accomplish tasks and chores. They will say, for example, that it is time to get up and make their beds and that they have one song to do so. The CD will then play a song.

You see, kids don't understand it when parents tell them they have three minutes to make their bed. But they do know music. Play a three minute song that they know, and they know approximately how much time they have left before the end of the song. Tell them to make their bed in one song and they can do it with ease.

Do this with an 80 minute CD and the whole morning is on auto pilot - it just gets done.

We start ours every morning about 7:15. By 8:20 the kids are up, dressed, fed, ready for school and have done a few jobs around the house.

We also have an evening routine - which does wonders to get the kids to bed on time. If we don't do the routine, we often see the kids up well past 9:30. Use the CD routine and everybody is in bed by 8:30.

So, create your own routine CD. Record your kids, add them to the disc, follow it up with some good music, and off you go.

A couple of caveats:

1 - I don't know how this will work with different school schedules in the morning. We are all generally on the same schedule - our afternoon kindergarten child does it with us in the morning, however.

2 - We started off with a point system to give added enticement to get things done. The points can be for whatever you want... We used it as part of their allowance calculations. However, over time, we find that they don't need 'points' or motivation. They just do it. (Though, they still want allowance, we just don't tie allowance to these routines - we can get into that discussion later.)

3 - After a while they get tired of the same music, so we simply use the original voice recordings and make a new disc with new music. We now have a couple floating around. Generally speaking, it is the same order so they know what is next that needs to get done.

Doing this changes a ton of things around the house. It stays cleaner as the kids are doing chores before school and before they go to bed. Tiffany (and I when I am home) don't have as much cleaning to do so she can focus on other things during the day. Overall, there is a much better spirit around the home. Even the kids feel it and are nicer one to another. Well, sort of.

Let me know if you have any ideas. We are always looking for more ways to improve life.




  1. That's a great idea! I need to be reminded of this in a couple years when Connor is in school.

  2. I really like the idea, I wonder if it would work for adults..... Maybe I could make myself a cd telling me what to do each morning and night.

  3. I don't know if I told you, but I took this idea from you, and used it in my classroom when I was teaching full-time. I used it as the morning routine, and it worked like a charm. Kids knew how much time they had left to do their morning work. I also used other music sets for writing, and they not only worked better, more concentration, but the music gently told them when their time was almost up. I've always believed music creates a positive environment, and really liked this new way of using it. If I didn't already, I need to thank you for that idea. :)