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