Try a Rhythm Chart

In Part 1 of this post you learned how to Do the Next Thing in your Everyday Parenting, and the consequences of focusing on the clock rather than family relationships. In this post (Part 2) you will learn how to use a Rhythm Chart to help you focus on relationship over rules, and still get out the door!

How to Use a Rhythm Chart

A rhythm chart is a fun way to get your kids on board with trying things a new way. You can create a separate one for different days or activities too.

  • You can say, “hey, I’ve noticed we’re not having much fun in the morning. I thought we’d try something new. Instead of looking at the clock, we’re just going to ‘do the next thing.’ So I thought we’d come up with a fun way to get through the morning together. Let’s start with all the things we HAVE to do, then talk about some fun things we WANT to do. Ready?”
  • Write down all their suggestion on a piece of paper – all of them, even the “fly to school in a hot air balloon” and “have 7 ice cream scoops for breakfast.” (You might need to take a lemonade break before going on).
  • Next, invite them to think more critically about the list, “okay, let’s circle the things we HAVE to do.” Then, “great! now let’s choose 1 fun thing we really WANT to do.” Add the circles to the list.
  • For younger children (1-6) you’ll want to keep the list short. For older kids (5-9) you can add a few more things to the list. You’ll need to simplify your list if you notice them struggling to complete them all.

Focus on the Longterm Goals

Don’t be afraid to help them whether they are 7 or 17. Helping children will NOT spoil them or make them dependent on you. The goal is to build skills AND strong relationships. And you do this one moment at a time…multiple moments a day. Build their skills starting where they are NOW, not where you want them to be; for example, if they can get their shoes, but can’t put them on, start by having them get their shoes (you put them on). When you start where they are you can build upon their skills rather than building more power struggles into your day. And each time you support them from where they are, you support your lifelong relationship with them.

Here is a rhythm chart I co-created with Canva. Feel free to download a blank one or make one yourself!

Want to know how the clock interferes with bedtime? Check out THIS POST.

You can read about more ways to collaborate with kids from Raising Human Beings by Dr. Ross Greene, and learn how to support them emotional from Listen, by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore.

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