Casa, Kids

Tiny Change=Big Difference

October 16, 2012

Now that we are well into October and the school year is in full swing, we are finally organized around here. Do you remember when I asked you about TV time? How much is too much? I realized that with Diego’s busy schedule, the answer was simple. Although we don’t ban TV in our home, the bottom line is, Diego doesn’t have much time for TV or any electronics after school. Weaning him off all of the screens after a very crazy summer was the tough part. But I found this very simple and cheap solution. This dry-erase board. Isn’t it nice? All framed and everything? I bought it at Staples and it was the best $30 I have spent for my kitchen lately. No kitchen table yet.

This little white board has clear expectations. A little list of things-to-do and gentle reminders. Diego sees something like this on a much bigger dry-erase board at school so he is familiar and happy that there is a routine here as well. He wakes up in the morning and although we have been doing this for about three weeks now, he still checks the white board with hopes of me forgetting to write “brush teeth”. Ha!

Diego was arriving home from school in September exhausted and ready to surrender in front of Octonauts. Unfortunately, with homework, soccer and piano lessons on some nights, plus reading in English AND Spanish, there was not enough time. I make sure he gets time to play with his brothers and he only has two busy evenings after school. I started to realize that if he didn’t have clear and visible steps for our mornings and evenings, we were constantly disagreeing on how to spend our time.

I have been able to sneak in some screen time at the end of the day and it actually serves as a reward for Diego if everything on his list is done. Although our afternoons look structured, he has a big say-so on what he would like to do first or last. Also, writing down “play” is so vague and we have done everything from baking to art to running up and down hallways with Santi. That’s what I like to see- Diego interacting with his little brothers and not glued in front of some type of screen everyday.

How do you keep your kids organized after school or throughout the day? Would love to hear more tips!

Your friend,


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  • Reply Unknown Mami October 16, 2012 at 1:03 am

    This is a great idea. I might take it up.
    Unknown Mami recently posted..My Husband is Wearing Mario Lopez’ Underwear #MaLoUnderwearMy Profile

  • Reply Liz A October 17, 2012 at 12:20 am

    I have a dry-erase board too but for my organization 🙂 but I like your idea of using it as a to do list for them. It doesn’t come out as a demand when we need to remind them what we want them to do. The first thing I like for them to do when they come home is get out of their school uniform. Most days they do it on their own. Then I have them show me their binder or folder for me to see what they have done in school, or other important info. Ellie, my eldest has been pretty consistent in pulling out her folder herself to complete her homework right away. She usually know what to do before I get a chance to look over the directions. Scary when she starts ahead of me. Lol. I hope she continues this routine though. But I agree routines definately is they way to go. It doesn’t have to be in any specific order all the time, but it definately helps.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty October 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      I really don’t change much Liz. But since we have been doing this, Diego looks for it. He is just like me. Needs to know what and when! LOL!

  • Reply Nancy October 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Its a very great idea, I’m ginna have to do it for Christina, she totally needs more estructure and I constantly have to give her directions on what to do next, and it takes a lot of time and energy out of me, Melina in the other hand she is very organized and does everything in order and she has stabled her own routines which I have to learn from, where did she learned this from? It must of been from school, not from me :). All I have to make sure is that Christina will look at the board and follow it. I really hope it will work for us.Thanks Betty!!

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