From Our House to Yours
Habit Training for Children Using Visual Aids
Charlotte Mason was an advocate of training children to have good habits in all areas of life, including personal hygiene. I have tried to train our sons to have good habits in this area from a young age. Rather than sporadically asking whether they have done something or not, I have found it is better to have a more planned way of checking this. I have also found it is helpful to have a visual, printed reminder of the habits expected. This way, I know there is no confusion what habits are expected. Likewise, I can have different expectations for good habits based on each child’s age. Below, you can see one of my first charts for our sons when they were little. I laminated the chart and posted it in the boys’ bathroom. They checked it off each day with a dry erase marker. The pictures really helped!
A Tear-Off Pad for Personal Hygiene and for Chores
One year, I made a tear-off pad of colored notes for our sons’ habits of personal hygiene. I also added their chores to the list. Each son had his own pad of paper to check off, with his own age appropriate hygiene and chore habits. I took the pads of paper to a local office store and had them compile them like sticky-note tear-off pads. I gave each son a pad with a different color of paper. Each day, I had them check off their tasks as they were completed. When their tasks were done, they tore off their papers and handed them in on the counter before breakfast. I loved not talking about these things every day! It was easy for me to see if they had completed their tasks or not. Either their paper was on the counter, or it wasn’t!
Charts to Encourage the Habits of Good Personal Hygiene and Picked-Up Bedrooms
As our children grow, I found I wanted to encourage them in other habits, like keeping their rooms picked up. Little ones can just begin with putting their toys in a basket in their room. They can also be taught to pull their blankets on their bed up and smooth them. These little things make a big difference in how picked up a room looks! As children get older, they need to take on more responsibilities for keep their rooms neat. If they are sharing a room, I have found this habit of picking up even more important to teach! Invariably it seems one child is neat, and the other is not. Sharing a bedroom can be a real source of frustration! Below you will see one of the charts I used to encourage both good personal hygiene and picked-up bedrooms.
Charts on the Fridge with Magnets
One year, I posted charts on our fridge. I included personal hygiene, chores, and bedroom clean-up habits. All of the magnets were placed on the right “DO” column before I went to bed. Then, the next morning as the boys completed their tasks, they moved their magnets from the right “DO”column to the left “DONE” column. They enjoyed the magnets, and I liked being able to see at a quick glance what still needed to be done. Now that our sons are older, I just have a quick chart we use. Some days I use the chart, but many days our sons take turns grabbing the chart and being the checker. I think all the previous years of visual charts for personal hygiene, chores, and room clean-up have made this task super easy! Hope one of these ideas can help you instill the habits you want to in your children!
A Charlotte Mason Moment:
“Having been brought up so far upon stylists the pupils are almost certain to have formed a good style: because they have been thrown into the society of many great minds, the will not make a servile copy of any one but will shape an individual style out of the wealth of material they possess; and because they have matter in abundance and of the best they will not write mere verbiage.”
(Home Education by Charlotte M., Vol 6, p. 194)
A Charlotte Mason Moment:
“Education which demands a ‘conscious mental effort’, from the scholar, the mental effort of telling again that which has been read or heard. That is how we all learn, we tell again, to ourselves if need be, the matter we wish to retain, the sermon, the lecture, the conversation. The method is as old as the mind of man, the distressful fact is that it has been made so little use of in general education.”
(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6, p. 159-160)
A Charlotte Mason Moment:
“As we have already urged, there is but one right way, that is, children must do the work for themselves. They must read the given pages and tell what they have read, they must perform, that is, what we may call the ‘act of knowing’. We are all aware, alas, what a monstrous quantity of printed matter has gone into the dustbin of our memories, because we have failed to perform that quite natural and spontaneous ‘act of knowing,’ as easy to a child as breathing and, if we would believe it, comparatively easy to ourselves. The reward is two-fold: no intellectual habit is so valuable as that of attention; it is a mere habit but it is also the hallmark of an educated person.”
(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6, p. 99)
Are you bombarded with gift ideas this Christmas?
With the upcoming Christmas season quickly approaching, it is easy to get bombarded with gift ideas. Toys, clothes, digital gifts, and games are often the gifts advertisers target for children. As a momma of boys, I am always looking for a gift my sons will love.
Books make wonderful Christmas gifts.
One thing I often forget in the search for the perfect gift is that books make wonderful Christmas gifts. Books are not expensive and can be reread or passed down to another child to be read again. Books rarely “break” like toys do. They are not outgrown as easily as clothes. Books do not go out-of-date quickly, so they can be picked up and enjoyed long after Christmas is over. Plus, reading is something a child can do alone! Only one person is needed to enjoy a good book.
Warning: As gifts, books do not usually get an overly enthusiastic response from the recipient.
When my boys open books as gifts, they aren’t always overly enthused with them (even though my boys are avid readers). Other gifts typically get a more enthusiastic reaction. However, once Christmas is over, and the other gifts have lost their luster, the books come off the shelf.
After Christmas, I often find my boys cuddled up in blankets…reading.
Once the busyness of Christmas is over, my boys are often cuddled up in various rooms of the house reading… reading… reading. I discover them late at night in their beds…reading, begging to be allowed to read just one more chapter. I find them in the bath…reading. I hear them talking to their cousins about the book they are reading. This warms a momma’s heart!
Don’t forget to spend time choosing great books for gifts!
So, next time a birthday or Christmas rolls around, don’t forget to spend some time choosing great books for your kiddos’ gifts. While not expensive gifts, they affect your kiddos’ minds and hearts far beyond many other gifts! Just remember, the joy that comes from a book as a gift often comes AFTER the excitement over other gifts has passed.