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 was recently brought to my attention just how rare it is to find college age kids and young adults with what I consider to be basic life skills. You know, like being able to balance a checkbook, cook a meal, do laundry, or communicate effectively.
So, over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the life skills our kids are desperately in need of now, more than ever. We began by talking about personal finance skills, moved into cooking and cleaning, and last week, we touched on relationship skills.
This week, we’re exploring Self Awareness Skills. You might be thinking – what even are self awareness skills? At first glance, you might think that they are things that shouldn’t have to or need to be taught, but I assure you – they do need teaching!
We’re talking simple skills like knowing how to prioritize tasks, keeping focused, and basic etiquette – plus much more. Without these very necessary skills, our kids will lack the self awareness they need to succeed and prosper in our ever changing society.
PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS
It is so necessary for our kids to avoid developing a helpless mentality. There’s nothing worse than watching your child whine that they can’t do something – especially when you know, if they just tried, they actually can do it! Kids who whine that they can’t become adults who never developed problem solving skills.
It is up to us as parents to help our kids develop and understand their inner resourcefulness. Kids, and adults for that matter, don’t need to know everything, but, it helps if they have a skill set that allows them to figure things out. And, if they can’t figure something out, we can guide them in discerning how and who to go to for help.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CALLING, PURPOSE & MISSION
Understanding your higher purpose, your “calling” and what drives you helps set a foundation for everything you do.
Crafting not only a family mission statement but discussing what a ‘calling’ or ‘gift’ is with each child, will help them to start thinking about who they are and what their purpose, talent and gifts are at an early age.
HOW TO PRIORITIZE AND WHAT YOUR PRIORITIES ARE
We all have to learn how to prioritize the most important things each day, so we can take care of the most necessary (and often the toughest) tasks first. In the ER, doctors and nurses call it triage. It’s being able to assess a situation, size it up and figure out what needs to be tackled first.
Show your kids how to assess the situation and then do the big, bad, tough things first. Get them under control so you can move forward.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR VALUES
Similar to understanding your mission, understanding your values (and refusing to compromise on them) will give you guidance through any decision. If honesty is one of your values, then next time you’re put in a compromising position you’ll never be tempted to lie—because you know honesty is so important to you. If family communication and connectedness is a top value, then you’ll use that to guide your decisions that affect your kids.
Teach your children to write out their values and refer to them whenever they’re facing a tough choice. You should do this, as well. Your kids will learn this practice from your example.
HOW TO FOCUS
This is twofold: first, how to focus on a task when you’re facing a deadline or when you need to get something done; and second, how to focus your direction, your actions and your goals so you’re always in line with your values and holding true to your personal mission.
HOW TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR
Parents of tweens are aware of the time in their development when kids start to “get it.” Suddenly they can detect subtle tones in conversation, they learn to be sarcastic and yes, sometimes even funny.
Some adults still struggle with this, but finding the humor in any situation (and even the joy in the toughest ones) will get you far. Humor can help us deal with pain, stress and problems in life, and can help us find the silver lining. That is why this is so important for kids to learn, to help them through difficult situations as well.
Gone are the days of Emily Post and worrying about being judged for failing to use the proper fork at the dinner table (unless your family is VERY formal). Understanding basic etiquette, however, is still relevant and vital in today’s society. Politeness is about consideration for the feelings of others and making sure you don’t do something that offends or frankly, grosses people out (like chewing with your open – just gross).
Instilling self awareness skills in our kids may take some more time and energy while our kids are young. Ultimately, focusing on these skills now will bring your entire family the happiness and contentment you want for the future. For more information on how we model self awareness skills and other life skills in our home, check this out.
If you’ve enjoyed this series and you’re looking for more support in any of the areas covered, let me know. Send me an email with your questions and let me know what life skills you are focusing on with your kids! Don’t forget to grab our awesome FREE resources for teaching personal finance and cooking, cleaning, and laundry!
For the past few weeks, we’ve been chatting about the top life skills our kids need now more than ever. Our first two installments covered practical, tangible skills – money management, and cooking/cleaning.
The next two weeks, we’ll be moving into areas that are a little bit more difficult to measure, but still oh-so-important. Sometimes, if we don’t see dishes left on the table, dirty bathrooms, or low bank statements – it can be easy to ignore a problematic behavior. That doesn’t mean a problem doesn’t exist.
This week, we’ll discuss the important role positive relationship skills play in our kid’s lives as they move into adulthood.
We are all social beings and as such, we interact with others regularly. It may be tempting to crawl under blankets and binge watch Hulu all day, but that’s not always an option. Instead, we need to nurture our relationships with our partners, children, friends, other parents, and coworkers. Sometimes, these interactions are easy, but sometimes they are complicated and difficult.
We can set our children up for future relationship success by beginning the process of cultivating positive relationship skills, now. Without positive relationship skills, our children will grow into adults who aren’t able to communicate clearly, open up, or handle tough situations.
LISTENING & COMMUNICATION IN A PARTNERSHIP
Communication in a marriage or relationship is very different than general communication skills. It’s about listening, being selfless and empathetic and tackling the difficult conversations without prejudice. Words matter. They can be hurtful or beautiful. They can bring us closer to each other or they can rip us apart.
Teaching our children to think before they speak and listen more than they talk are communication tools that will serve them throughout their lives and in all of their close relationships.
VALUING & EXPRESSING RESPECT
At the heart of every successful marriage, there’s mutual respect.
Let’s face it, nobody’s marriage is perfect, but respecting our spouse and our differences can help your marriage become stronger and happier. Kids learn from what we do, not what we say. Learning to view our partners through the lens of another human being with feelings, desires and wants that may not always match your own, is an important skill for us to develop.
If your children are witnessing a strong and healthy marriage on a daily basis, that is the type of relationship they will model when the time comes.
VALUING & EXPRESSING LOVE
Love is about buying gifts and spoiling your children and spouse, right?
Love is about quality time, affection, expression and understanding. We all know what Hollywood and Hallmark say love is, but we also know love is about so much more. To love and to be loved is truly a life skill and something that takes work.
We need to teach our kids that love isn’t always about the chocolate, perfect IG selfies and romantic getaways. It’s about all of the ‘hard stuff’ that makes a marriage last.
HOW TO ACCEPT COMPLIMENTS & CRITICISM
Accepting both compliments and constructive criticism isn’t easy! Oftentimes we fail to accept compliments with grace or downplay them and get embarrassed.
Yet, we’re often crushed by criticisms (even if they’re valid) taking them personally and to heart.
Learning to simply say, “thank you” when you get a compliment and learning to view criticism as feedback (assess it, then apply it or throw it away) can serve our kids well.
Today’s moms have likely heard all the buzz about social-emotional learning. If you’re in the business world, I’m sure you’ve read a lot about how social and emotional intelligence are important in the workplace.
Why is this? Well, because people are finding that being emotionally intelligent can be just as important as understanding the nuances of engineering or physics.
As the human population grows and we become more global in our interactions, being sensitive to others, understanding emotions and learning to harness them in a positive way can be a make-or-break life skill. Fortunately, we can start teaching our kids emotional intelligence now so they will have this skill throughout their life.
Instilling positive relationship skills in your kids may take some more time and energy while our kids are young. Ultimately, focusing on these skills now will bring your entire family the happiness and contentment you want for the future. For more information on how we model positive relationship skills and other life skills for your kids, check this out.
Last week, I told you about my business peer who had sent her daughter off to college. Within a few weeks, she’d heard from her daughter who had thanked her for teaching her life skills like how to cook, clean, and do laundry.
My kids aren’t that old yet, but I know if I receive that call one day, I’ll be beaming! As moms, isn’t that what we all hope for – well prepared kids who “get it”? We all want our kids to learn how to be well prepared adults and to really understand why we chose to teach them those particular things.
This conversation sparked an idea for a series of blog posts on the top life skills kids are needing to learn now more than ever. We kicked off the series last week with personal finance management. This week, for part two, we’ll be chatting about cooking and cleaning.
HOW TO COOK
Many people are astonished by the lack of cooking skills among today’s young generation. While this is the era of ready-made meals and fast food, you shouldn’t consider the ability to cook as just a survival skill. The enjoyment of knowing how to cook is priceless. When done properly, home-cooked food has a beneficial effect on your health and the health of your wallet.
Even if it’s just macaroni and cheese, the ability to cook a meal and eat it is a necessary life skill—it’ll save them lots of money when their favorite takeout restaurant is closed for a holiday or it can be a feather in their cap when they are able to host a party and cook for a group of co-workers for the evening.
Starting the process of getting your kids comfortable in the kitchen can begin at an early age, too. It’s easy and fun to teach very small kids about baking. There are even creative ways to mix in simple math activities while measuring out ingredients. As they get older and have more attention and understanding of kitchen safety, you can move on to teaching them more difficult cooking techniques like sauteing, roasting, and grilling.
Knowing how to cook their own meals will save our kids money, calories, time, and could even impress their future partner down the line.
HOW TO CLEAN
From making our beds to laundry basics, our kids all need to learn basic housekeeping skills. For our kids, keeping a tidy house is a life skill that ensures the health of their own future family, keeps them organized and able to find what they need, and ultimately saves them money so they can keep living the ‘good life’.
It’s also proven that organization in the home help kids think more clearly in school. Organizing a home is more than just straightening up. It involves actual cleaning, organizing, and developing systems and routines to remain clean and organized.
You can begin this process by getting kids involved in your household chore systems. We do a lot with our kids around involving them in chores. They learn life skills and earn money in the process. It’s a win-win!
How to do Laundry
We’ve written quite a bit about training your kids to do their own laundry as well as easy laundry hacks, so I’m sure you can tell that this life skill was a big one for us. Getting my kids to do their own laundry has been a huge time saver for us!
We recommend introducing laundry to your kids in phases and you can find the entire process, here. Of course, it can be much quicker (and less frustrating) to simply do it yourself. But, that phone call from your kids at college thanking you for teaching them to do this will be so, so worth it!
It’s clear that our kids need life skills now more than ever. As their parents, it is our job to teach them. Teaching kids how to cook and clean and handle their laundry can be some of the most basic but necessary skills. Additionally, you can start with these skills when they’re quite young and make them fun! Come back next week for part three where we’ll be chatting about relationship skills.
In the meantime, 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.⠀
Deciding whether or not to implement a chore system in your home can be tricky. There are many factors that may weigh on your decision as to if it is the right time for your family to get started with a chore system. Some things to consider are your kids ages, physical abilities, cognitive abilities, and ability to adjust to new routines.
In our home, for our kids, we are in favor of establishing chore systems early. This is because of the multitude of positive values having a chore system has taught our children. Four particular values stand out to us as the most important.
Here are the top 4 values your kids will learn when you begin to implement a chore system in your home:
Teaching kids about responsibility can be a little tricky because it’s multifaceted. There are multiple ways to approach responsibility – being responsible, acting responsibly, having responsibilities, and taking responsibility. The common thread is that they all relate to doing what is expected of us.
Responsibility is an important trait to instill in our children because it opens their eyes to expectations. When children take on new responsibilities, it establishes rules, habits, and routines that form the basis for all future interactions. Assigning your child chores gives them something they can be responsible for and take ownership of.
Establishing the value of responsibility leads to trust and freedom within your parent-child relationship. It also leads right into accountability, as this is what your child will need to acknowledge if they are not responsible, acting responsibly, or taking care of their responsibilities.
Once your kids understand responsibility, it becomes easier for them to grasp the concept of accountability, too. When your child takes responsibility for their actions, their items, or their mistakes – the idea of accountability grows clear. Accountability does not need to have a negative connotation. Accountability is owning up to something you’ve done wrong or failed to do and accepting the consequences.
For kids, accountability is all about taking ownership of and following through with their responsibilities. The follow through is the sweet spot where your kids will see the results of their hard work and begin to feel pride in what they are doing.
Our goal in establishing chore systems is to help our kids understand that being accountable for their actions and responsibilities means they are holding themselves to a high standard
Habits and Routines
Developing habits and routines are an integral part of running any happy household. Kids thrive on routines. When kids develop positive habits and routines, they know what to expect, feel secure and supported, and release anxiety.
There’s also positive benefits for the parents. For you, it will look like less nagging and reminding, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll have more time together as a family.
Habits and routines in a home teach kids how to self-manage, work together as a family, and create a home environment that is full of positivity. Chore systems easily become a part of your family routine and habits. Kids know and expect they will be handling their assigned tasks and they welcome the comfort of this consistency.
Our ultimate goal as parents is to set our kids up to be successful adults. Of course, we want to keep them safe – but we also want them to grow into independent, healthy, and happy adults. As a parent, there is a delicate balance between guiding our kids and letting them care for themselves, when the time comes.
When you establish chore systems in your home, you will watch your children become more independent right in front of your eyes. As they take responsibility for their chores, accept accountability, and develop their routines – they will begin to need your support and guidance around these particular chores less and less.
When children develop independence, they become equipped with necessary life skills, self sufficient, empowered, and confident. As parents, isn’t that what we all want for our children?
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! 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.