The first month of summer is over and done. Wow, where did it go??? Perhaps I’ve been working so hard, I hardly noticed it? Well, I can say that I actually have been able to get quite a bit of work done, despite having my very-soon-to-be-six-year-old hanging around every chance she gets.
Last month I wrote about my hopeful idea to keep her entertained (and heck, maybe even educated!) while I worked by finding activities for her to do and setting a kitchen timer for 20 minutes for each one. So, here’s how it went…
I went through the house – the entire house – and wrote down every single game, craft, toy area (i.e. Barbies, dollhouse, etc) that I found. Then I printed out a bunch of math worksheets I found online, along with some writing worksheets and some basic but fun coloring pages and added these to my list of “things to keep Jillian occupied.”
I turned this boring-looking, scribbled list into cute and colorful “tickets,” each with a different activity on it:
So each morning, she picks out 6 or so “tickets” to use that day. It’s completely up to her, I have no say in what the daily tasks are going to be. (Hey, as long as she’s happy and quiet, she could be drawing with chalk for 2 ½ hours straight, right? I know, I know, that wouldn’t be very stimulating, but you know what I mean.)
The rule is you set the timer for 20 minutes at the beginning of each activity. If the timer goes off and you’re still having fun, you can stay as long as you want. But you cannot leave that particular activity before the 20 minutes is up. I’ve put a little table of hers, or her “Desk” as we now call it, right next to my desk in my office upstairs. This way, she can do some of the activities, like math and writing worksheets, and even some arts and crafts, right here with me. And then other things, like her dollhouse or puzzles and games, are downstairs in the playroom. So, I don’t feel like I’m neglecting her when she’s right with me, but I also get a little freedom, and she doesn’t get that cooped-up feeling from being in a small room for 3 hours straight. (If only I could run off to the playroom every half-hour or so!)
And it works!
I’d say about half the time she’s so engrossed in whatever she’s doing, she doesn’t want to stop after her time is up. And the other half of the time, she’s been well entertained for 20 minutes, had fun, and is ready to move on to the next exciting ticket. She really gets a kick out of picking out her tickets each morning, and I’m happy she sees it as something fun and cool, instead of a “must-do” that is no fun.
Occasionally, I will admit, I’ve found that she’s snuck off to my mom’s sewing room and has coaxed Gran into putting on “I Love Lucy” for them to watch together. But as long as she’s not bothering anyone, and we can all get our work done, I say it’s working just great!