While in Ohio, Samantha had no problem playing for at least 20 minutes either by herself or with Audra. I realized a big difference between Jen's day and a typical day at our place- even though they might not go anywhere, they had a daily routine.
I know, I know. It took me almost 2 years to realize my child might thrive on a routine.
So I splurged, spent ten dollars at Hobby Lobby, and came up with this one night:
The first column has clocks that really serve no purpose other than to refer to a general part of the day.
The second are things that we will do (and in order that we will do them).
The third column is where we put the pieces of felt after we've completed an activity.
The final column has the day of the week, places we go and activities that she can choose to do.
A close up of places we go regularly during the week. Notice some are hand written- I've been adding as the days go on.
The first day went amazingly well. She caught on immediately and loved it! Whenever she'd get whiny and ask me to hold her I'd take her by the hand and say, "Let's go look at the schedule!" If it said "Play" we played. If it said "snack" we snacked. If it said "books" we read books.
Now, obviously I don't think my child was listening to marker written on felt. What really happened, is that the schedule forced me and Jeremy to plan out the day, rather than have one or two things that needed to be done- and just do whatever in between.
After a few weeks I stopped doing it for myself and kept doing it for Jer. He loved it because it reminded him of when she might need a snack, and gave him ideas of different things to do with her while I'm at work.
I have to admit that the schedule is still sitting from last Wednesday...I think we've finally made a habit of a good routine that we don't need the visual reminder anymore. But let me tell you- it has given us amazing results!
Score one for genius mom moment!