We know that helping our kids develop realistic routines and good habits is high priority. But, knowing we should and actually setting a system in place are two completely different things.
We want our kids to learn responsibility and accountability so that they can establish positive habits, stick to daily routines and eventually become fully functioning independent adults. It’s okay to know what you want for your kids but not be 100% sure of how to make it a reality.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help you get on the right path to forming realistic routines with responsible and accountable independent kids! In this post, we’ll talk about why routines are important, how to plan a realistic routine for your family and actually achieve it, and we’ll talk about what tasks or chores are appropriate for your kids at each age.
Why are routines important?
Routines are important for both individuals and families. For individuals, establishing routines can make you feel more in control and focused. For a family, it can create a calm living atmosphere where everyone contributes for the common good. Everyone knows their role to play, what to do and when to do it. Family members depend on each other and trust that each member will contribute.
Without a set routine, habits just don’t stick. Research shows that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. Imagine how smooth your household will run if you simply take 3 weeks to help your kids establish healthy, responsibility building habits in your home.
How do you make your dream routine a reality?
- First, visualize what a well run home looks like to you. This will be different for each family – it’s okay if your well run home is different from mine, it’s all about finding what works for your family.
- Ask yourself what needs to change and what needs to happen daily, weekly, and monthly in order for your house to run smoothly.
- Consider which of those tasks can be done by each child based on their age, physical abilities, and maturity level. Scroll down to the next section for a list of general age-appropriate tasks.
- Figure out what motivates your kids. Is it money, gifts, more screen time? Decide what you will use as motivation and what your children will need to do to earn it.
- Hold a family meeting where you explain very clearly to your kids what your new routine will look like. Let the kids know what they will need to do, how often, and what they will earn by doing it.
- Get started. Don’t slack off – remember it takes 21 days to form a habit! Put in the hard work at the beginning and eventually (sooner rather than later) you’ll be able to back off and watch your kids take accountability for their own tasks.
- Be patient and flexible but remain consistent. Each week, evaluate how you can support your child and determine if anything could have been done differently or more effectively.
- Sit back and watch with pride as your household runs smoothly, your children take responsibility for their chores and take pride in their contributions to the household. Enjoy the peace of mind you now have knowing that your child can stand on his/her own two feet!
At what age can my kids start to get involved?
A while back, I asked some fellow moms in a mom group what tasks their kids help with or chores they do and what their ages are. The following is a list of age-appropriate chores starting with 2-year-olds. Yes, two is not too early to start with simple tasks and routines around the house! This helps to build responsibility and accountability at an early age.
- Put dishes in the sink
- Put laundry in the hamper
- Help feed pets
- Help with sweeping and dusting
- Put things in the trash can
- Sort items
- Help push buttons
- Put away toys and books
- Set the table
- Help clear the table
- Straighten their room
- Help put laundry in the washer
- Clean up after playing, reading, or crafting
- Keep bedroom neat
- Clear the table
- Switch laundry from the washer to dryer
- Take laundry out of the dryer
- Make bed
- Feed pets
- Empty dishwasher
- Take care of pets
- Do their own laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away)
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Wash dishes
- Mop floors
- Clean baseboards
- Take out the trash and recycling
- Pull weeds and rake leaves
- Clean and organize their own bedroom
Are you ready to set realistic routines in your home by implementing a family chore routine in your home but you just don’t know how to get started or get yourself organized? We’ve got you covered! Grab our totally FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide and we will walk you through the step-by-step process of designing, implementing, and sticking to a plan that works for your family.
As our kids grow up and find their way through life, there are certain life skills that they learn and develop. I like to think of these skills like a ladder. You can’t jump from the first rung to the 5th rung, you need to take it one step at a time. Learning life skills is a lot like that.
On the life skills ladder, I view the first two steps as “needs”. These are the things kids need to learn before they can move on. These “needs” are at the bottom of the ladder because they are necessary to learn before kids can develop the “wants”. Wants are the good habits that lead to our kids eventually becoming self-sufficient and independent.
Now, I don’t imagine that kids hop on the ladder and climb up with no problems. It’s more like if you start up the ladder, realize you forgot your paint brush, go back down a few rungs to grab it, take a step back up, then realize you need your tape, go back down, and so on. It’s a constant up and down as kids grow and go through the phases of life.
The ultimate goal, though, is that our kids will make it to the final rung of the Life Skills Ladder – independence – by the time they enter the world as adults. This is how to get them there.
What every kid needs to learn:
When introducing life skills to your kids, the first skill that’s needed is responsibility. You can teach your child responsibility through chores, jobs, and pay day.
Look at your daily life and make a list of things your kids could do each day. Start with simple tasks. You can also look at your week and decide what needs to be done each week. You can assign each task a reward. This would be monetary or something like screen time.
Assigning certain tasks to your child that have a definite deadline and reward begins to teach them about responsibility.
Once your child has taken responsibility for their own tasks and jobs, they are ready to learn about accountability. This is learned through consistency, encouragement, reinforcement, and discipline.
When your child is learning to be accountable, it’s important to take things slow and be flexible. Check in each week to evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. Determine how things are going and if you could have offered support in a better or different way. This is a process that won’t happen overnight.
What every parent wants for their kids:
Eventually your child’s new responsibilities and accountability will lead to the establishment of positive habits and routines. This is what you wanted all along. This was the goal!
You’ll notice that your home is more organized, the household is streamlined, and everyone involved has a better grasp of time management. Good habits and routines form slowly, they take time, so don’t rush the process. Over time, as your child takes on more responsibility and accountability, the tasks require less nagging and oversight from you in order for them to be completed.
This leads to happier kids, less stressed parents, more time for what matters, and a smoothly run household.
The final step on the life skills ladder is independence. This step is where your child becomes self-sufficient, empowered, and confident. They have a positive relationship with work and money. In addition, along the way, they’ve learned to be generous with their time and money.
Most importantly, you as a parent have peace of mind knowing that your child or children can stand on their own two feet.
Not Sure Where to Start?
Are you ready to implement a family chore system in your home but you just don’t know how to get started or get yourself organized? We’ve got you covered! We’ve devised an action plan for establishing a chore system and budget WITH your kids. It walks your kids through the steps of developing responsibility and accountability in order to establish positive habits and routines to become independent.
You can grab our completely FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide, here. You can also hop over to Facebook and watch me walk through how to use it, here. If you’d like even more support, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up a systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⠀
It’s hard to let yourself imagine the gut wrenching feeling you’d experience if you turned around in a crowded store, then turned back and saw your child was gone. Your face would get hot, you’d begin breathing rapidly, and panic would quickly set in. This is a feeling I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Our children are so precious, the thought of one of them being lost, missing, or having wandered off is unbearable.
Kids can go missing from almost anywhere and it can happen in a matter of seconds. Crowded public places, a playground or park, or even your own front yard are all common places from which children are reported missing. According to the US Bureau of National Crime Information Center, a child becomes missing or abducted every 40 seconds. Let that sink in. Every 40 seconds.
I can’t imagine having come up with a plan for this type of situation or any amount of preparation would ease the panic you’d feel if your child were missing. There are some steps you can take that will help to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.
Here are 4 simple tips to follow to increase your chances of locating a missing child:
Speak openly with your children about dangers.
Communicate regularly, and in an age appropriate manner, with your children about the dangers of wandering off, getting lost, or being abducted.
Be sure they know what you would and wouldn’t ask them to do. For instance, run through hypothetical situations with them. Go over what you want them to do if someone offered them a ride, asked them for directions or help around their car, or made them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Make sure they know who safe people are and where to find them. In stores, this might be security guards or store employees. Outside it could be police, firefighters, or park rangers.
Encouraging them to memorize their address and your cell phone number at an early age. You can begin to prepare your child for a worse case scenario in a non-intimidating way by making it like a game.
Always keep a current image of your child on you.
If your child goes missing, it is incredibly important to have an up-to-date image of them. You can share this image with security and/or authorities right away. This simple tip has become so much easier now that we all keep a phone with a camera on us basically 24/7. If you’re like me, you’ve got new photos of your kids on your phone just about every day.
Whenever there is a significant change to your child’s appearance, like a hair cut, be sure to snap a photo of them with a clear view of their face. Also make sure your images are being backed up somewhere so that you can access the images even if you don’t have your phone on you at the time.
Know what your child is wearing.
As best as you can, each day, make a mental note of what your child is wearing. Particularly take note of any distinguishing features like a character, colors, or design on the clothing. Try to remember brand names and sizes, if possible.
Also be aware of the things your child carries on them at all times. If they are younger, this might be a favorite toy. As they get older, this might be a piece of jewelry, a wallet, or cell phone.
Have a comprehensive record containing your child’s DNA and fingerprints.
Collect all of your child’s important information and samples and keep them together in a safe place. You’ll want to include things like their full name, medical and dental records, identifying marks like scars and birthmarks, and finally their school information. Have a list of your child’s closest friends and numbers where you can contact them.
Additionally it’s important to have DNA samples and fingerprints for each of your children. If you want to gather all of this information and have it in one safe space, consider putting together a child identification record for each of your children.
A child can go missing in the blink of an eye. If that happens, I know you want to be as calm and as prepared as possible. That way you can locate and reunite with your missing child.
Let us help you do that by sending you a FREE Child Safety Identification Kit. You can get your FREE kit by clicking here.
It doesn’t really surprise me when I meet people who don’t budget. I’ve been at it for so long and it’s become such a major part of my life that it’s rare I go a day without thinking about budgeting. But, I wasn’t always like that.
At one point in my life, I was one-half of a newly married couple that was 100K in debt! Deciding to set and stick to a firm budget changed our lives, our relationship, and our future.
If you haven’t yet started budgeting, I’d suggest giving it a shot – especially if you are in one of the following groups!
Budgeting is important for young adults as they begin to navigate life on their own. They’ll be faced with new expenses like student loan payments and possibly rent for the first time.
For many, this is the stage of life where either positive or negative money habits will begin to form. If positive habits form in early adulthood, those habits are likely to remain throughout their lives.
Young adults may begin planning for larger expenses like a wedding, purchasing a first home or car. These are all expenses that are much easier to navigate when budgeted for.
Newly Married Couples
A budget is really helpful for newly married couples because they may be merging bank accounts, spending habits, and even debt for the first time. You could have a situation where one of the partners was a budgeter prior to the coupling and the other wasn’t, where neither has ever followed a budget, or where both are dedicated budgeters.
A newly married couple may be paying off large bills from a wedding and/or honeymoon. They may be considering purchasing a new “Forever” home.
They are at a high risk of falling into poor spending habits as they may now have a newly combined income and the freedom and desire to eat out often, travel freely, and shop at will.
It is especially important to learn budgeting as a newly married couple begins to consider growing their family.
It is beyond necessary for every family to have a budget. Families need to know how much money is coming in and going out each month. When a couple adds kids to the mix, the spending and needs expand. Without a clear picture of what is going where, things can get sticky really fast.
The more people in the family and depending on the ages of the kids, the possibility for unexpected expenses increase.
Additionally, kids are expensive. People don’t just say that to be funny, it’s true! Have you seen the prices for organized sports and summer camps? These are often expenses you’ll need to plan for far in advance.
Other large expenses families need to budget for – travel. The cost of traveling exponentially increases (especially by plane) the more people you add to the family. Your weekly grocery bill will also explode with both an infant (formula and diapers) and teenagers (they eat allllll the food, seriously).
Using budgeting strategies to prepare for these things in advance will keep your family protected in the event of a crisis.
Single adults can also greatly benefit from a set budget. Oftentimes, single adults find themselves supporting themselves as well as dependent children on one income. There may also be a mortgage and car payment to consider.
For a single adult supporting a family on one income, an unexpected crisis can be completely devastating. Having a budget where you regularly add to your savings could be a true life saver.
Even kids should be learning about budgeting! I know they might seem young but I promise you, it will be worth it. The earlier you begin to teach your kids the value of money, the better set up they’ll be in their adult life.
Since my kids were 4 and 6 years old, I’ve had them use piggy banks to start teaching them the concept of earning and saving their money to pay for things. Now that they are 9 and 11, I’m working on introducing the concept of budgeting with them.⠀
I’ve created a great system for us and you can check it out here. I’m sure it will evolve over time but for now, they are learning the basics of what I want them to learn and practice as adults.⠀
When kids learn budgeting strategies at an early age, they will bring those habits with them into adulthood.
I’m guessing you’ve gathered that it’s important for EVERYONE to learn budgeting. If you are looking for assistance in setting up your family budget, I’m here for you! Let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up a systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⠀
So, you’ve met that special person, dated, and fallen in love. You trust each other, want to be together 24/7 and do everything together. Ahhhh, young love.
Now you’re faced with that age old question – do you join your bank accounts? Some might even say the decision to join bank accounts is an even more significant commitment than marriage.
Now that you’re part of a couple you might be trying to decide if joint or individual bank accounts are right for you, here are some things to consider:
Joint Bank Accounts
A joint bank account is a bank account that is managed and owned by more than one person. It functions just like a standard account, except it can be accessed and modified by more than one person.
Pros of Joint Bank Accounts
It Makes Things Easier: Having joint accounts with your partner leads to more simplified budgeting and bookkeeping. With everything in one place, you can more easily monitor what’s coming in and what’s going out.
Partnership: Ever heard the saying, “What’s yours is mine”? Well joining bank accounts shows you really mean it! It can also be a way to build and grow something together as a team.
You Can Save on All the Fees: I’m not saying that joint accounts don’t have fees, but with a joint account, you can minimize the number of accounts and therefore the fees.
Cons of Joint Bank Accounts
Secrecy: One major disadvantage of having joint accounts is that, since your partner can always see where/how you are spending money, surprises can be easily spoiled. You’re far less likely to receive a surprise gift, be surprised by a vacation, or have a successful surprise party thrown in your honor. But, I can think of worse things.
Overmanagement or guilt: If one partner is a spender and one is a saver, you may be in more frequent spats, hold grudges, or undergo a power struggle around joint finances.
Messy Breakups: Joint bank accounts can cause really messy situations in a breakup. Be sure of your relationship before joining accounts.
Individual Bank Accounts
An individual account is a personal bank account that is used by an individual. It is for personal banking as opposed to a shared corporate account or joint account.
Pros of Individual Bank Accounts
Maintain Your Independence: Many people feel what they earn is theirs and that they shouldn’t be accountable to a partner for spending their hard earned cash.
Complete Control: With an individual account, you have financial security and complete control over your own financial situation.
Protect Your Assets: If one partner has multiple or higher assets, it may be wise to keep them separate, especially in instances where the other partner carries a lot of debt.
Cons of Individual Bank Accounts
Bill Management: Managing who pays what bill and from what account can get tricky when you are managing a household from individual accounts. It is necessary to make clear what bills get paid, from what account, and by who.
Trust Issues: Trust issues can arise when you are unable to easily view finances, purchases, and income with your partner.
In Case of Emergency: I know, we don’t want to think about this, but having separate accounts can pose some issues if one member of the couple is incapacitated in any way. The partner may have a difficult time gaining access to the accounts.
What works for us.
What works for us might not work for you. My husband and I have all joint accounts. We do things this way because we believe it is all our money. Also, all of our bills and credit cards are in both of our names. It is important to us that we each have full access to all of our finances.
Every relationship and partnership is different, so what works for us might not be what is best for you and your family finances. Be sure you weigh the pros and cons of joint and individual bank accounts before you make the decision for your relationship.
If you are looking for assistance in setting up your family budget, I’m here for you! Let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up a systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⠀