Practical Steps for Creating Realistic Routines

Practical Steps for Creating Realistic Routines

Pin image for realistic routines.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. 

Use a daily planner to help set realistic routines.

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!

Make sure chores are age appropriate for realistic routines

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.

2-3 Year-olds

  • 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

4-5 Year-olds

  • 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

Make sure chores are age appropriate for realistic routines

6-7 Year-olds

  • Clear the table
  • Switch laundry from the washer to dryer
  • Take laundry out of the dryer
  • Make bed
  • Feed pets
  • Empty dishwasher

8-11 Year-olds

  • Take care of pets
  • Do their own laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away)
  • Load and unload the dishwasher
  • Wash dishes
  • Mop floors
  • Dust
  • Clean baseboards
  • Take out the trash and recycling
  • Vacuum
  • 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.

What is the Life Skills Ladder and How Does it Work?

What is the Life Skills Ladder and How Does it Work?

Pin image for the life skills ladderAs 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. 

two children learn the life skill of doing dishes

What every kid needs to learn:

Responsibility

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.

Accountability

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: 

a college student who has life skills

Habits/Routines

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. 

Independence

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.⁠⠀

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: How to Cook and Clean

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: How to Cook and Clean

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

two kids learn to cook together

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

a mom cleans while her daughter watches

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!

Why you should teach your kids to cook and clean pin

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.⁠⠀

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Personal Finance Management

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Personal Finance Management

I recently heard an interesting story from a business peer whose daughter started college in the fall. This mom was telling me that she received a call from her daughter thanking her for teaching her how to cook, clean and do her own laundry. She was pleasantly surprised that her daughter had thanked her for teaching these skills and she asked her daughter what had prompted the call. Her daughter relayed to her that she had been horrified when she discovered that her roommate didn’t know how to do any of those things.  

If your kids were to go away to college today, what kind of phone call do you think you’d receive?  

What life skills will your child know by college?

What skill sets do you want them to leave home with that will give you the peace of mind of knowing they can take care of themselves? With the right preparation, we can get our kids on the right track, so that they can each acquire these important life skills.

You may be thinking, what ‘life skills’ should I be teaching my kids? 

We’ve put together a four part series that will highlight different types of life skills all of our kids desperately need to learn before heading off into the world. Ultimately, as a parent, you get to choose which life skills are important to you and your family, but this series will give you a thorough overview of the areas I focus my time on with my kids.

First Up in our Life Skills Series – Let’s Chat Personal Finance Management.

Personal finance is one of the most essential life skills, that we don’t tend to teach the next generation. I guess we just assume they will just figure it out like we did. 

However, I think many of us (I’m raising my hand right now, too) took a bit longer to figure it out than necessary. I don’t know about you, but if I can help my kids now to avoid the mistakes I made later on down the line – I’m all for it. 

Because of that, I’ve already started on many of these lessons with my own kids.

HOW TO BUDGET

7 personal finance life skills Pinterest imageThe ability to budget and be financially responsible is absolutely vital to your life skillset. It’s a skill we can learn from a very young age and one we should build upon throughout our lives. Setting financial goals, taking care of your money and calculating expenses are an important part of budgeting.

HOW TO AVOID/GET OUT OF DEBT

Learning to live within your means is definitely a learned skill. Learning to slay your debt is about keeping your spending in check and managing a plan to pay off your debt quickly and efficiently. We refer to it as a war, slaying, tackling and fighting because it’s truly challenging. But, the amazing thing is, with a little practice, avoiding debt is a war that we can teach our kids to win.

HOW TO MAKE A MAJOR PURCHASE

Maybe your kids are about to buy their first car—or maybe just their first new jacket with their allowance money. Whatever it is, they should understand how to compare prices, how to do research via Consumer Reports, and how to make a smart, well informed, purchase.

BALANCING YOUR BANK ACCOUNT

How many of us just use our debit card without writing things down? How many of us pay bills online or have them set up to automatically be debited from our accounts and then sort of forget until they show up on our bank statement? 

Being able to record your expenses is a skill that keeps us in touch with your finances. It’s important that our children understand what it truly means to use their debit cards and actually physically subtract the money from their bank accounts. It keeps them immediately accountable for what they’re spending. Have them try committing to write things down for a month and see if you notice a difference in their spending patterns. 

HOW TO USE COUPONS

Learning how to use coupons can actually be fun for kids! My children love it and it’s really easy to get started. With a little organization and some practice, you’ll become a couponing queen (and you’ll rarely catch yourself or your kids paying full price for ANYTHING).

MONEY MANAGEMENT/INVESTING

Once they have saved a lot of money or have their debt paid off, understanding how to invest their money wisely is also a huge learning experience. Even people who have money to spare have trouble with investments and making that money grow. 

Really, there are very few ways to “get rich quick” aside from winning the lottery, and most investing and money management attempts have to be carefully vetted and researched. Show your kids how to research various areas of investment such as the stock market, real estate, or startups before they decide to let go of their hard-earned money.

EFFECTIVE NEGOTIATION

effective negotiation - life skills

Bargaining, bartering, negotiating—it’s a learned life skill many of us shy away from. Learning how to trade, make an offer, and be comfortable with asking for a better deal can save you money. It can also be a valuable skill when you’re faced with a tricky money situation (like asking for a raise) where negotiating is essential and expected. 

Teach your kids not to shy away from making a bargain. Challenge them to practice until they feel comfortable. That might mean saying, “Is that the best you can offer?” over their next big purchase or you could have them set up a swap with a friend to practice negotiating. This will help them learn to stop cringing whenever a negotiating opportunity presents itself.

Our kids need life skills now more than ever. Period. End of story. As their parents, it is our job to teach them. But, when we don’t know where to start – it can be overwhelming. My advice, start with personal finance management. Come back next week for part two where we’ll be chatting about cooking and cleaning. 

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.⁠⠀

How to Streamline Your Family Morning Routine on School Days

How to Streamline Your Family Morning Routine on School Days

There was a time when I spent every morning constantly stressed out. I was desperately trying to get the kids out the door and to school on time so that I could get to work on time.⠀

It seemed like the more I nagged and reminded them to get ready and get their butts downstairs to eat so we could leave for school, the more they dilly-dallied in their rooms. Then when they did get downstairs, we butted heads trying to figure out what they wanted to eat for breakfast and lunch. So, of course we always ended up rushing out the door with food in their hands.⠀

One day I was just simply fed up. I told my husband, “That’s it! I’m tired of this. We need to figure out a way to stop this madness every morning.” And that’s when I sat down and thought about what exactly I could do or change to make our morning routines less hectic. So I created a family morning routine/system and “laid down the law”. We’ve made a lot of tweaks along the way but we’ve kept with it and seen great improvements!

These are the main changes we made to streamline our family morning routine and teach our kids more responsibility:

Make decisions the night before

We discuss breakfast and lunch the night before each school day so we don’t waste any time in the morning. If possible, we even pack lunches and prep breakfast the night before. This eliminates any wasted time in the morning from indecision. If they have decided they want something different by the time morning comes, they are sure about it before speaking up. 

We used to waste so much time going back and forth in the morning deciding what each kid felt like eating for breakfast and what we should pack for lunch. Those days are gone now because it is all set in stone before they go to bed the night before. This simple routine modification has saved us so much time and stress in the morning!

Put your kids in charge of their own wake up

child with alarm clock to streamline the family morning routine

Another minor change we made with major impact was putting our kids in charge of their own wake up. We set an expectation time that everyone is to be downstairs. In our house, that’s 7 AM. 

Our kids now set their alarms for the time they select that will allow them to be downstairs on time. I like giving them the ability to choose what time they set their alarm for. This gives them both a sense of responsibility and control over their situation. 

If your kids are on the older side and have a cell phone, they can use the alarm on their device. We choose not to allow devices in our kids’ rooms, so they set old fashioned alarm clocks for themselves! If your kids are younger, you can always use a clock radio or even wind-up alarm clock and you can assist them with setting it each night. It can also be fun to take your kids to choose their own alarm clock. If you let them pick out their own alarm clock it can help to build excitement. 

Even if your kids are young, I would recommend getting them involved in deciding how many minutes they will need to get downstairs on time and what time to set the alarm for.

Create a backpack ready zone in your home

Another simple shift that has saved us loads of time in the morning is not running all over the place to find our stuff! We used to race all over every morning looking for books, note books, items for certain days of school, lunch boxes, and water bottles to shove in our backpacks. It was inevitable that something was lost, we forgot things, and we ended up running late. 

creating a backpack ready zone streamlines your family morning routine

Now, we have a designated backpack ready zone. For us, this zone is in our living room on a shelf right near their homework station. It’s convenient for our kids that their backpacks “live” in close proximity to their desks, where they do their homework each evening. Instead of racing to find everything they need in the morning when we are in a time crunch, they now find it all before they even go to bed the night before when we are under far less stress to get out of the door. 

Each morning, my kids grab their backpack from its “home” and move it to our designated zone in the kitchen. This is where they pack their backpack with their lunch, water bottle, and any last minute items they don’t want to forget.

For your family, you are going to want to make sure your designated zone is in an area that works for you and your routine. Make sure the backpack zone is visible, easy for your kids to reach, and close to your exit location. This might be your kitchen, entryway, or mudroom. Get your kids involved in choosing and setting up your backpack ready zone. This will make them more likely to stick to the system. Wherever it is for you, just make sure it is easy!

Thanks to these simple changes, my kids now rush me out the door instead of the other way around! To help set up your own plan for your family morning routine, 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 systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⁠⠀

4 Signs Your Kids Need to Learn the Value of Money

4 Signs Your Kids Need to Learn the Value of Money

The day you realize your child or children have no concept of the value of money can be both jarring and eye opening. We all want to raise confident, empowered, educated, well prepared kids. But often times, our desire to give our kids the absolute best can lead to entitlement issues. 

In reality, the best gift we can give our kids is an education in life. One of the most important life skills for any kid to learn is the value of money. It’s not always an easy concept, especially for young kids or kids who’ve already established a pattern of being given everything they ask for. But, it’s also never too late to start and reverse old patterns that didn’t serve your family well. 

You might be wondering if it’s time to start talking to your kids about the value of money. If you’re wondering about it, I’m guessing you’re already beginning to see the signs below and that’s why it’s begun to weigh on you.

Here are 4 signs your kids need to learn the value of money

They say “I need” when it’s really a want. Pinterest image - 4 signs your kids need to learn the value of money

Teaching our kids the difference between a want and a need can be so difficult. While it is tricky to explain to littles and sometimes confusing for them to work out in their minds, it is so important. If they think they “need” things that are very clearly wants, this is a major red flag. 

They tell you to just put it on your credit card. 

The first time I told my child we weren’t getting something because I didn’t have cash on me and he responded with, “That’s okay mom, just put it on your credit card”, I actually froze in my spot. 

Kids see, hear, and absorb more than you might expect. Which means, they’re likely seeing and hearing ads for credit cards all over the place. 

If you don’t show them your cards or talk to them about credit, from what they see on TV, they may think credit cards are a magical flow of endless money in every adult’s pocket. If they can verbalize this – it’s time to talk to them about how credit really works.

They expect to get something whenever you’re out shopping.

I feel like this was one of my biggest mom fails for a long time. Every time we were out shopping ANYWHERE I would allow my kids to pick something. To me, it was worth the money to have them cooperate on the shopping trip. 

Boy was I wrong about what this habit was actually teaching my kids. The headaches it gave me down the road were far worse than simply having said “No” on the spot. Which leads us nicely to…

They throw a tantrum when you say “No” to a purchase in a store. 

Child throwing a tantrum in the store because she doesn't know the value of moneyEvery parent HATES being the one who’s kid is melting down in the store. So, many of us do whatever we can to avoid it. Like, letting them have whatever they want just to simply avoid the public embarrassment and shame that will come along with their tantrum. 

In reality, if they react this way to your saying no, it’s a definite sign that they need to learn about what can and can’t be bought and why. They need to learn how money works and when and where it should be spent. 

It’s never too early to start talking about money

Bottom line, it’s never too early to start talking to your kids about money and showing them the real value of money. The more kids see and are involved in your conversations about finances and budgeting, the better prepared they’ll be to handle their own finances as young adults. 

If you grew up with no concept of the value of money, you don’t have to repeat the pattern with your own children. 

Now that you know your child NEEDS to learn about money, what do you do?

First, you’ll need to know if they are cognitively ready to learn about money. Can they count? This is important. For more information on determining if they are cognitively ready to talk about money, check out this post

If you decide that they can handle the topic, next you need a plan. This is where we can help you! We’ve devised an action plan for establishing a chore system and budget WITH our kids. To completely understand the value of money, it’s so important that your kids be involved in the family budgeting process.