Home > Inblox > 2011-06-03

Eva's morning routine podcast

by Mark Abbott on Friday, June 3rd, 2011

For us and Eva, getting ready in the morning has been a daily struggle. We are constantly cajoling and browbeating her to stay on task and do the various things she needs to do between 7:00 and 7:30 before she comes down. We tried a bunch of different things -- checklists, reminders -- but nothing seemed to work.

I read that using a kitchen timer could help. But I figured we would need to reset it every few minutes for each task, which seemed like a pain. Instead, I asked Eva if she would like to make a recording that would guide her through the steps she needs to do to get ready in the morning. She really liked the idea, so that's what we did.

First, we made a list of everything that Eva needs to do in the morning. Eva decided how many minutes she wanted to allot to each task. Luckily, they added up to just under 30 minutes.

Then we wrote a script for what she would say at each step. Eva really enjoyed this part. The opening line is, "Good morning Eva. This is Miss Alarm Clock."

Then we made the recording using GarageBand's Podcast function. We recorded her reading each cue. Then, between each pair of cues, I gave her a list of songs that were about the right length to put in the gap. She chose "Waltzing Matilda", "Montana", "Once In A Lifetime", "Walk Like An Egyptian", "In My Head", "Harry You're A Beast", and "I Got The Feelin'".

We did a dry run on a Sunday morning. Eva was very excited to try it and it went fine.

Monday morning was the real test. I assumed that it wouldn't work, or if it did, the timings would be all off and we would need to adjust them after a week or so. But Eva did everything perfectly, and was down in the kitchen, ready for school, at 7:31.

(We have a rule that Eva may have eggs for breakfast only if she is ready by 7:30. She was sore about missing the deadline, and asked if we would start her CD at 6:55 instead of 7:00 from then on. We have done so, and Eva now eats eggs for breakfast regularly.)

I have to say, this project has been a spectacular success story. As a side benefit, Eva asked me to make a CD with "Montana", "Harry You're A Beast", and a few of her other favorite Frank Zappa songs. She often going to sleep listening to it. I'm in parenting nirvana.