It was the morning after the night before, and it wasn't pretty. A bit more prudence the night before would have gone a long way to making the next day more pleasant.
I'm not talking about hangovers, I'm talking about a naked teenage boy running around the house, a boy who couldn't find his sports uniform. I'm talking abut his unhappy dad, who needed to get him to the bus that was going to take him to the meet, who was fretting about missing the bus because the boy was STILL naked. Sunshine and rainbows, this was not.
As our boys move into their teenage years, they're taking on more responsibility and more autonomy, but this means of course that they've got more room to make mistakes. And mornings, of late, have revealed areas where a lot of learning still needs to happen. The glasses that are lost. The messes left in the wake of the fast-departing child. The clothes that have gone missing. All of this is an indirect result of giving the kids a lot more leeway over their own bedtime routines.
And so, after the naked-sports-debacle, I decided to give my kids more autonomy by telling them exactly what to do.
To wit: I made a list of all the things they need to remember to do pre-bedtime. Do I love making lists? Yes, I do. I do love lists, I do. Do my kids like using them? Actually, yes to that, too. They're my kids, after all. In fact, N-son now comes home from school and asks if he can get his bedtime list and start working on it right away. J-son sort of prefers running around naked, but he'll go through the list with good cheer and as much goofiness as we'll let him get away with.
So far, one week in, we've had fewer late-night pleadings for one more snack (because getting a snack before going to bed is on the list). We've remembered to apply N-son's wart medicine almost every night (ew, gross!). The house has been less of a disaster zone than usual. And there haven't been any naked teenagers streaking through my living room.
It wasn't until I started writing all the tasks in one place that I realized how much activity goes into getting ready for bed and for the day that follows. Here, for what it's worth, is my sons' bedtime list.
I've read that airplane pilots and surgeons use lists like these (well, not exactly like these) to avoid mistakes. So I guess you could say I'm preparing the boys not only for bed, but also for amazing careers.Bedtime Checklist___ Hang up backpacks
___ Hang up lanyard and ID
___ Toys/papers out of first floor
___ Put all shoes in closets
___ Umbrellas put away
___ (N) show Mom your glasses
___ (N) finger medicine
___ Cell phone to Mom
___ School clothes laid out
___ Get snacks
___ Clean table/kitchen
___ Teeth brushed and flossed
___ Cap on toothpaste
___ No toothpaste (etc) in sink
___ Shower, if needed
___ Nothing on bedroom floors