Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Use Stories instead of Timers for Children ... it works for me!

Welcome to Day 17 of the 31 Days series It Works for Me!

When our kids were very small, I asked their grandparents, aunts and uncles to read and record some of their favorite stories onto cassette tapes.

I made a master tape with all the stories one after another 
and we used that tape for all kinds of things for many years.  
It got us through hundreds of miles on long road trips 
(back in my day, Missy, the minivans didn't have DVD players!), 
served as a favorite "nap time" playlist, 
and probably best of all, it worked as a timer.

We had a very large playroom, which was frequently strewn wall to wall with toys.  
Much fun, but also much to pick up.  When it was time to pick up the toys, it would take the kids FOREVER.  

I introduced the timer.  
Five minutes!  You have five minutes to pick up the toys!

And the timer would ding.
And three toys would have been put away.  
Children have no sense of urgency.  
They have no sense of time.
They just want to play.

So, I started using the story tape.  They had one story to get all the toys put away.  
These stories they knew very well.  So they knew when the end was fast approaching.  
It was always cute to see their pace pick up as the story came to and end.  

But you know what?  
They got the job done by the end of the story!

The tapes became an unanticipated treasure ... when we made them, I wasn't thinking about preserving the voices of very special people for posterity.  
But my 95 year old Aunt Gladys reading "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" 
and my mom reading "The Story About Ping" 
are warm and real voices from the past,
 and priceless to me now.  

In reading one of the stories, we made the recording while my mom actually read out loud to the kids.
Right in the middle of the story, Benjamin, who was about four at the time, said, 
"Mom?  Could you get me some tea?"  
The perfectionist in me was vastly annoyed that he had "messed up" the recording ... 
but now, that sweet request in that small voice is one of my most favorite parts.  

My children are older now and the charm of the story tape doesn't quite hold the same power ... 
but for a time, it most definitely worked for me!

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

  1. Ok, genius mom, you've done it again. I need to grab a notebook for all these great ideas, DARN IT!!! ;)

    1. Okay, Kerry, you are such an encourager ... where have you been all my life?