Thursday, March 19, 2009

Habits and Routines

“’Habit is ten natures.’ If that be true, strong as nature is, habit is not only as strong, but tenfold as strong. Here, then have we a stronger than he, able to overcome this strong man armed.” – Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason believed strongly in the power of the habit. In fact, discipline (or the formation of good habits) was one of her three definitions of education. Her thought was that children will develop habits regardless of what we do as parents. Do nothing, and poor habits may develop. But if you train and work with the child you can foster the development of good habits. In fact, the number one thing she encouraged mothers of the under six set work on was habit training.

So that is where we are. We are going to focus on the idea of habits and training for good ones as well as changing any bad ones that we have developed. And I am not talking the royal “we” here. Miss Mason firmly believed, and rightly so, that adults can not expect their children to have good habits of their own if the parents are exhibiting bad ones. So in addition to working on my children, I also have to work on myself.

We are starting with daily routines. We are focusing on the morning routine of getting up, dressed, and completing chores before becoming distracted by entertainments or having to rush out the door for activity. To that end I have created a routine checklist for Olivia to use in the morning and evening. This not only facilitates the formation of the morning routine, but I hope in time, it will give Olivia cause to be more independent in these tasks. Right now I am standing there and working through with her, but in time I will loosen the strings and have her complete more and more on her own.


The idea for and the graphics for these charts came from one of the nice moms on the Ambleside Year0 Yahoo Group. I modified her list into a chart with a space to add a check-off (in our case a smiley face). I knew this touch would be something Olivia would appreciate. She likes to check the list just like mama does. I printed these on cardstock, laminatd them,  and use velcro dots to attach the faces. We take the faces off in the morning and right before the evening routines and put them in a basket. After completing each task Olivia goes to the basket, retrieves a face, and puts it in the proper position before moving on to the next task.

As I said, today was only our second day so I am still standing by to walk her through, but over the next couple of weeks I plan on sending her in there to work through herself more and more. She has been very excited by this and anxious to complete the list and put on the faces. We do need to lay clothes out the night before, and I will still have to help with hair brushing and the bed, but I want her to take the impetus to get it done even if she needs my assistance.

If you would like a copy of the routines, you can get a PDF version of both sets of routines.  A Word version is available if you would like to change the order or items to suit your family. I am not

1 comment:

  1. Hi There, I just happened to find your blog while searching for workboxes, then I noticed you are using Charlotte Mason (which I love)! I have a 3 year old and 1 year old. Would love to be able to download your morning / evening routine, but I'm having trouble using the links provided above. It says they have been removed. Please let me know if these routines really helped in the long run. I'm looking forward to starting something like this with my 3 year old. Thanks! Autumn