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.⠀
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.⠀
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
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.
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.⠀
This post contains affiliate links. Though there is a chance that I will receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, I assure you I do not recommend or endorse any product or service that I have not tried myself and do not whole-heartily support.
I can so clearly recall the feelings I used to have about our household. It felt like I was grasping at straws trying to hold it all together. I felt pulled in a million directions but none were really where I felt I should be. I struggled to manage our family and all of the unique personalities that made it.
Since that time, one system that’s become incredibly important in our home is spending one-on-one time with each of our children. Having special time with my children where we embrace an activity of their choosing really puts a smile on my face. I love connecting with each member of my family individually and really getting to know who they are and what they love. The best part of all, is that I can see and feel the joy in their heart when they have my complete and undivided attention.
With some help and the implementation of what we call “Special Time” our family and household is now functioning more like a team and less like a circus.
Why we do this
A few years back, it was becoming clear to us that our house was not always the calm atmosphere we’d envisioned creating for our kids. I was at my wits end trying to manage all of the family dynamics in our household. I just didn’t know how to approach certain behavioral issues with my kids.
We needed to acknowledge our own shortcomings in our family dynamic. We didn’t have bad kids – we had kids who were craving our undivided attention. Giving our kids our undivided attention is no longer difficult because we have a plan on hand and it has become part of our family systems and routines.
We also know that as our kids get older, the need for connection will become even more crucial. If we have established a close and connected one-on-one relationship with each of our children, as they go through middle school and teen struggles – they will feel safe and secure leaning on us because they are already used to having our undivided attention on a regular basis.
How we got started
We got started with adding one-on-one time with each of our kids to our daily schedules when we first began exploring Positive Parenting Solutions. One of the modules they provided that immediately caught our eye was the Mind Body and Soul Time. This is their video training module that goes over the specific steps you need to follow to get started with implementing parent/child one-on-one time with each of your kids. You know I love having an organized plan, so this was right up my alley!
With our kids, we call this “Special Time”. When we first started, we usually try to do it 10-15 minutes every night before bedtime. Each of our kids would start with one parent and at the end of that time, we switched. My hubby is a firefighter and gone for 2-3 days at a time. We keep him involved in this through the use of FaceTime. The ultimate recommendation is 1-2 times a day for 10-15 minutes everyday. For our family, 10-15 minutes before bedtime was what worked best. We shoot for having special time with each of our kiddos each night, but as they get older and involved in more sports and activities, we’ve had to become more flexible with this. Now, shoot for a half hour or an hour if we’ve needed to skip a few days.
Some of our Favorite Activities
Activities will definitely vary based on your kids’ interests and ages. The activities will also likely change over time as they grow, mature, and their interests change. Another factor in choosing activities might be weather. Some of our favorite activities won’t be possible in rain or winter – but might be the top pic all summer long.
I love to let my kids help with the process of choosing when we spend our time together and how we spend our time together. We usually play different board games. Some of our favorite are Uno, Monopoly, Guesstures, or Charades. We love board games! We also love playing cards, drawing, playing with toys, or imaginative play. Sometimes, we’ll even play a game on their iPad together.
Here are some additional one-on-one activity ideas your kids might enjoy:
- Building LEGOS
- Playing basketball, soccer, or baseball
- Reading together
- Coloring, drawing, or painting
- Writing stories together
How you can Implement more one-on-one time in your home
Getting started with establishing a plan for one-on-one parent/child time can be super easy and fun! Pick a time and get it on your calendar, get your child involved with choosing how they’d like to spend their time, eliminate distractions for you and your child (put your phone down!), and get started!
Our “Special Time” has created such positive change in our home. It’s our job as parents to set our kids up for every possible success. Our goal as parents is to raise kids that are well prepared for adulthood. There are so many ways we can prepare them for what is to come in their future but one simple way is by creating a home atmosphere where they feel seen, understood and connected.
We do this by spending one-on-one time with each of our children. By doing this, we know we are teaching them valuable lessons they can bring with them into their adult lives.
If you’re ready to jump in but you’d like more info on how to implement this into your own family, I recommend checking out Positive Parenting Solutions. Take some time to check out their module on Mind Body and Soul Time. You won’t regret it.
It’s that daylight savings time of year again, and you know what that means…cranky kids, temper tantrums, and no sleep for you, right? Well, not necessarily…we’ve got you covered. The ‘spring ahead, fall back’ time changes can mix up everyone’s schedule. The loss of just one hour can really affect a child’s attention span, appetite, and overall mood. You can minimize the effects of daylight savings time by being prepared.
Here are some helpful tips on how to get kids back on track so everyone can get a good night’s sleep.
Allow Time for Gradual Adjustment:
It takes some time to adapt to a loss of sleep. So if your child normally goes to bed at 8 p.m., put him/her to bed at 7:45 p.m., then 7:30 p.m., and so on, until they are going to bed as close to 7 p.m. as possible. This step-by-step process is not as much a shock to the system, as it is when you abruptly expect your child to fall asleep an hour earlier after the time change. If you’re having trouble getting your child to bed earlier, which is often the case in older kids, then just focus on getting them up in the morning a bit earlier instead. When daylight savings time ends in the fall, this gradual approach can still help — follow the same guidelines — just push the wake-up times and bedtimes a little later rather than earlier.
To Make Bedtime Easier, Control the Lights:
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s internal clock. The levels of this hormone increase in the evening as it becomes dark to help induce sleep. Melatonin levels decrease when it’s light out to assist with wakefulness and alertness. Daylight savings time alters your natural cycle, and the results can be particularly difficult for kids. I recommend dimming the lights in your child’s bedroom and turning off all electronics about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. According to The National Sleep Foundation, these devices can reduce sleep time, sleep quality, and daytime alertness because of light exposure and brain engagement right before bedtime.
In the morning, you should try to get your child into the light as much as possible. Natural sunlight is best, so if weather permits, make sure there is sunlight entering your home, or turn on the lights so it’s nice and bright! To help when you “fall back,” make sure your child has some light exposure in the early evening. Be careful to ensure that your child’s room doesn’t become too bright too soon in the early morning.
Establish a Routine:
When daylight savings time begins or ends, it’s especially important to stick with a bedtime routine. Your child is now dealing with a change in schedule that might throw him off. It’s absolutely critical that they have a routine during bedtime because that’s what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. One option is giving your child a warm bath, reading him a book, and snuggling together before lights out.
Get Enough Sleep Beforehand:
In the days before you change your clocks, make sure your child is getting plenty of shut-eye. Sleep results in more sleep, so going into daylight savings time well-rested will greatly help your child because he won’t be cranky and overtired, which can make falling asleep even harder.
Be Supportive and Understanding:
In the days following daylight savings time, try to be more forgiving if your child is throwing extra temper tantrums or seems to be particularly frustrated or difficult in any way. The time change can cause these short-term changes in your child’s mood, but your understanding and support will help them adjust a little better to the new schedule.
Take Care of You:
And most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself too! Many adults feel sluggish and cranky themselves after the time switch, so make sure you’re getting the rest you need as well. Thankfully, these effects are all short-lived — within a week or so, everything should be back to normal.
As always, I’d love to hear which blogs resonate most with you! Feel free to reach out and message me on Facebook & Instagram!
For more information, check out these resources:
If You Liked This Blog, You Might Like: