The Advantages of Using a Bedtime Routine Chart in Your Home

You put your child to sleep. You walk into the living room and the child follows behind. It is a normal routine for many families. Bedtime is difficult for many children. Seeing a child a few times each night as they come out for one more hug or scoot out of the hallway to say they miss you – this is pretty normal for most families. Allowing children to keep themselves up late sets poor habits and leads to a difficult struggle to get through the following day.

In the midst of the struggles to get a child to bed, parents understand they are losing valuable sleep time. They know that a lost hour of sleep will turn into a tired and grumpy child the next day. The evening battle of wills will cause a child to wake up the next morning cranky and fighting their parents through the next day.

Children need a rhythm to their day. From morning to evening, it is important that young children are easily moving from one transition to another with ease. This is even more important as the day wraps up in the evening. Children and parents are tired from the long day and need every tool available to make bedtime smooth and comfortable.

A bedtime routine chart can be a helpful tool assisting parents and children to find a rhythm to bedtime. The chart will lay out the final steps of the day from changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, and hearing a story in bed. The chart can use illustrations of each step of the bedtime routine. If you use interchangeable labels, children can have an opportunity to put their parts of the routine in order with help from the parents. Giving children a chance to have a say in their evening routine can go a long way in giving ownership to the sometimes stubborn child.

In our home, we have used charts for the daytime and bedtime. Our bedtime routine chart has a picture of an owl perched on a tree limb. To the side sits five magnets ready to receive the activity labels – which are golden stars. We have found that nice homemade charts bring much more appeal than a simple printed off sheet found on the internet. While you can add more activity labels, we use some that are fairly generic – brush teeth, put on pj’s, go to the bathroom, story time, bath time, etc. My wife has drawn illustrations on each label so that both child and parent can “read” the label.

While no chart or routine will make each evening 100% perfect, we have found a helpful amount of rhythm in using our charts in our home. Our child appreciates the appeal and has made a connection to the owl. Just this past week, he spent several days using his imagination as he said he was an owl – even to the point of sharing what little animal parts you could find in his pellets (such an imagination).

If you would like to create your own chart, head to your local craft store and even take your child with you to help. If you are not the crafty type, you might search on the internet to see if you could purchase one for yourself. In our home, we have tried to stay away from simple free internet printouts. We want the chart to become part of our home and our evening routine. It will need to be sturdy enough to make it through the basic abuse brought upon it by both my son and his younger brother. Best wishes to your family and may your adventure towards evening simplicity be a blessing on your home.

Printable Homework Charts Keep Mom From Pulling Her Hair Out

If you are battling with your kids over doing homework, there is a simple tool that can really help. Printable homework charts have made a difference in many homes and they can work in your home, too.

This premise is amazingly straightforward. Kids, like most adults, need structure. However, most kids do not understand their need for structure and will not institute any on their own. That’s normal and where you, as a parent, can really shine.

Helping your student get organized using homework charts is easy. Realize you may have to make tweaks in your system over the first few weeks. Many parents are frustrated with a new system that doesn’t work perfectly the first time. Don’t fall for that! Making changes over time is called progress and should be celebrated.

Start by sitting down with your child and going over his homework needs with him.

– How many classes or subjects does he have?

– What are the daily assignments that never change; such as daily reading or memorizing math facts.

– Are there days of the week he never has homework?

Use this information to get a feel for your child’s homework needs and then head to your computer to get some printable homework charts. There are a wide variety of charts available online; some simple and some quite sophisticated. Take a look at your choices and print some charts out to get started. You can always get different ones later on.

Fill out the homework chart for the first week or month. Consider that this is a new habit for your child and some motivation to stick with the program will probably be needed. This is not so much about grades as about becoming responsible for doing the homework with minimal prodding from you.

Let the homework chart be the ‘heavy’ or authority on this issue. Explain to your child about this new system designed to help make her life easier (which it will absolutely do if she gets on board with it). Tell her there will be frustrations at first, that’s fine, but grown-ups push through frustrations with a decent attitude.

Then get started. Each day point to the homework chart and ask if she has completed it for the day or how far she has gotten. Keep pointing out the natural consequences for not keeping on top of homework and establish your own family consequences for not keeping school a priority.

If you begin this system when your children are young and just starting out with their educational careers, you will find that you don’t have any difficulties nagging about homework as they grow. If your kids are older and have already established non-productive homework patterns, then your work will take longer, but you can still get the job done. Let’s face it. Adults complain loud and strong when they have to make changes they don’t like, so why should we expect our half-grown children to be any different? That’s human nature and as parents, we can be patient and show our kids the great skill of changing ourselves willingly and intentionally.

Use printable homework charts in your home to develop strong self-discipline habits and a healthy appreciation for education. Good homework habits are worth their weight in gold over the lifetime of your family.

Marine Charts Made Simple

In days of old no mariner worth his salt left home without an armful of marine charts tucked under his arm and a magnetic compass in his pocket. Today, most marine charts are in electronic format and more than likely displayed on a marine GPS device, a chart plotter or combo marine electronics device.

So what is marine chart and how do you use one?
Simply put, charts are topographical maps of the sea or inland water region. There are actually two formats, raster and vector. A raster marine chart consists of digital images that show you geo-referenced features. That means you can see your boat’s position on the charts in reference to other features to figure out, for example, how far you are from dry land. You can get regularly updated raster charts from NOAA. The common format for raster marine charts is called Raster Chart Display Systems (RCDS) and this is the format NOAA uses. So if you want NOAA raster chart updates you will need a chartplotter or marine chart display system that is RCDS compatible. (NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is a government organization responsible for oceans and the atmosphere).

The second format of marine charts is the vector chart. Vector charts are a combination of the digitized paper marine charts that can be overlaid with objects and information accumulated in a database. It has taken NOAA years to build the vector charts but they are now to a point that more and more chartplotters are opting to use them. The common format for NOAA’s vector charts is called Electronic Navigational Charts or ENCs. NOAA provides the ENCs free of charge and updates are also free. To take advantage of ENCs your chartplotter must be ECDIS capable (EDICS stands for Electronic Chart and Display Information Systems).

ENCs include real-time information such as current tides, precise coordinates of channel limits, and other geographic information designed to simplify navigation and make collision avoidance easy. NOAA has completed vector chart information on all the major ports in the United States and they continue to refine information on smaller ports. As with raster marine charts, you can download updates from NOAA as they add data.

Using Raster and Vector Charts
To use raster and vector marine charts you need a third party commercial software product that knows how to process and display the charts. Most chartplotters and GPS plotters use one or both types of these charts. What’s better, raster or vector? That’s up to you, the raster contains less information but to date is a more complete set of charts. The vector charts, while still in process, have made a lot of progress in the last few years and are updated weekly so the database is continuing to expand on a regular basis. You will most likely be able to obtain updates directly from your chartplotter manufacturer but it’s always worth knowing that the option to download directly from NOAA gives you up to the minute detail as soon as it becomes available.