In our quest to get our homes and our families more organized this year, this week I’m sharing how I’m staying organized while trying to raise my girls to be responsible kids. I’ve shared most of these ideas over the 4+ years I’ve been blogging, but as I’m sure thing do at your house, we have changed things up a bit over time, so I’m going to share our current plan, which has some cute new printables to go with it. Yay! That is always fun!
This parenting thing is most certainly not for wimps. Besides marriage, it is the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. Sometimes I wish someone had told me how hard parenting would be before I had children, but I know I wouldn’t have listened and that I would have become a parent no matter what. I’m so glad I am a parent. It is probably the best thing that has occurred in my life. I love my girls something fierce. I’m not sure I knew I could love something so much. At the same time, sometimes the day to day of parenting can get to be a little overwhelming. I feel like I’m talking out of both sides of my head, but I’m hoping that as a parent, you know what I mean.
Within all of my love for my girls and love of being a parent, I want to make sure I am keeping my eye on the prize. I want to raise girls who are responsible, who are leaders, who know how to contribute to society and who know they are cared for a loved no matter what. Of course, the list could go on and on, but my point is that I couldn’t have a series organizing our lives, families and homes without talking about how to stay organized while keeping the end in mind with our kids.
I’m a visual person. I know lots of you are. For me, in keeping my kids on track, it is usually more of a need to keep myself on track. If I have some type of system in place for them it is usually actually for me. What? Here is what I mean, I may go tell them to make their bed, but then get busy photographing something or making lunch or doing laundry or whatever and never follow through with them. Guess what? If that is a consistent habit of mine (and it is without something like these charts in place), my kids are still totally normal kids. They are not going to do what I have asked them to do because why would a 14 and 9-year-old go make their bed. Just because mom said to, I don’t think so, well at least not when mom doesn’t follow through. If I follow through with them, guess what? When I tell them to go make a bed or whatever, I am way more likely to get results. They know that mom will check up on what she asked them to do.
Kids thrive on structure. Sometimes when I write that, because I have written about this before(command center, parenting battle-plan, and chore charts), I hate the way it sounds. I kind of hate structure even though it is very good for me. I am so much more efficient and feel so much more accomplished when I have structure in my life. My kids are the same way. One of the things that has surprised me with my kids is how much my kids seem to need me to follow through even when the result is negative for them. I have one daughter who is prone to throwing a bit of a fit when she has made a mistake and missed something. I kind of hate it and sometimes I go the easy way out and just don’t push it. Sometimes (more than it should be) I let it go because I don’t want to deal with the whining and moaning and groaning. What I have learned from watching her reactions when I do follow through, she actually needs the follow through. To her, it shows her I care enough to pursue it and make sure she is doing what she is supposed to be doing. I think it is as though I am saying I love you enough to care that you do this no matter what. It has been interesting for me to learn that from her and realize that my laziness and dislike of the ‘fits’ as a parent has had some negative impacts for her and for our relationship. She needs the follow through. I think in some form all kids need that.
So, all of that said, in order for me to give my kids the structure and follow through they need, I need my own structure. For me, that is something visual and something that will remind me of what I have asked my kids to do or that for which they are responsible. I have these charts for you at the bottom of this post. Once you get your chart, you need to decide on what you want your kids to be responsible for. Be realistic. It isn’t terribly realistic for a 4-year-old to be in charge of cleaning the kitchen, but a 4-year-old may be able to get the mail or make their bed (not to grown up standards, but just pulling up the covers or something). Kids need to learn to be responsible. We can’t just expect that one day the responsible jean will pop out and they will suddenly be responsible. We have to teach them. I do this through daily things they know they had to take care of and my follow through.
I have these charts for you at the bottom of this post. Once you get your chart, you need to decide on what you want your kids to be responsible for. Be realistic. It isn’t terribly realistic for a 4-year-old to be in charge of cleaning the kitchen, but a 4-year-old may be able to get the mail or make their bed (not to grown up standards, but just pulling up the covers or something). Kids need to learn to be responsible. We can’t just expect that one day the responsible gene will pop out and they will suddenly be responsible. We have to teach them. I do this through daily things they know they have to take care of as well as my follow through.
One of my girls struggled with some pretty strong anxiety when she was younger. We saw a child psychologist for a while. One of the many things I learned from her was that while kids need responsibility, we need to not be giving them overwhelming amounts of things they need to do. Probably 3-4 things in the morning and 3-4 things after school and another couple in the evening is more than enough. So, pick out the things that you want to make sure are completed and whittle that list down to your top few for each portion of the day.
If you are using my chart, they are all editable, so you can type in those tasks. I put mine on the chart as close to the order they would be done during the day. In the past, I have color coded the tasks based on the time of day they need to be done. In that post, I did it with dots next to the task, but since the charts are fully editable, you could change the font color for the time of day. Fun!
The tasks I have selected don’t all need to be accomplished every day. Remember that for me, while this chart is for my kids, it is really for me. If I can’t remember what day something is supposed to be done, then I’m going to be way less likely to follow through on it. So, once I have the chart printed out, I start coloring. If the task does not have to be done on a given day, I color in that box so that it is clear to me and my daughter that she does not need to do that task on that day.
Do you see what I mean? By coloring the boxes for the days that the task does not need to be done, it makes it easy to look at Sunday or Monday and know exactly what my daughter is supposed to do that day. I know I keep saying this, but this chart is just as much for me as it is for them. If I can quickly and easily grab their chart and go check that they have done what needs to be done, I’m going to be WAY more likely to follow through. They are then going to become WAY more likely to accomplish these things.
At our house, I print out the chart and color in the boxes, then I laminate it. I have an old laminator from when I owned a Speech-Language Pathology practice, but they really aren’t that expensive and they are super handy. Secretly, I really want to get this new one (affiliate link)…have I mentioned my love of office supplies? If you don’t want to buy one, you can take these to a copy shop or office supply store and they will laminate it for you. Laminating them means that you can use the chart over and over again. My kids have a spot near their chart for a dry-erase crayon. They mark things off as they complete them or when I tell them to go check their charts. At the end of the week, the chart gets erased and we start over. Simple.
I’ve totally become inconsistent with this part of raising responsible kids. We used to consistently give the kids tickets when they completed their morning or afternoon tasks. They could then turn those tickets in for 30 minutes of TV or computer time. We also used to consistently give them the opportunity to do extra things around the house and earn money.
As my girls have gotten older, I’ve gotten a bit more lax about the tickets and I would like to get back to being a bit better at monitoring electronic time. I just don’t think it is good for them to have too much electronic time. I had my good friend and graphic designer, come up with some new cute tickets for us. Ummm…do we remember how much cuteness sells at my house? I think I’m going to go back to being more vigilant with our electronic use as well as requiring my girls to earn their screen time. I’ve usually made it so that they can earn a ticket for completing their morning responsibilities and another for their afternoon responsibilities. I never remember in the evening, so I don’t even try. As I write this I’m
As I write this, I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure if I will do this or not. I think it will be good for my 9-year-old, but for my 14-year-old, I’m just not sure. At some point as parents, we do have to let go and let them make decisions. At 14, maybe it is time for her to not be quite so regulated with electronic time. I have no idea how I would do this for one but not the other…so I guess this will be a work in progress for me.
I’m so super excited about these adorable family dollars! Aren’t they so cute!? I had my designer make them this way so you can determine how much a family dollar is worth at your house. I know budgets vary and tasks vary, so you can decide how much they are worth. At my house, they used to be worth 50 cents because while I wanted to give the kids the opportunity to earn money, I had to keep on track with our budget. I’m re-evaluating that amount now because my kids are older and 50 cents really isn’t worth folding laundry for me anymore…Momma may have to pay more to get help. 🙂 The other thing I LOVE about these dollars is that you can change the wording. Do you see where it says “Redeemable by the Bank of Coake”? You can change that to Redeemable by the Bank of Smith or whatever your last name is or whatever you want to call your family bank. LOVE it!
The other thing that I used to be so much better at was giving my girls opportunities to earn money. We do give them allowance every month(it is not much), but we also used to offer opportunities that they could earn additional money if they wanted to. I need to get better at offering them opportunities. It is good for them and it is really good for me as well because they are usually things that I need help with and help save me some time. For our house, they are usually things like washing some dishes, folding laundry, making dinner, vacuuming, etc.
Whew…this post is a great reminder to me to get my parenting butt in gear. I feel so lazy when I write this, but I know I’m not alone. I often go for easy on a daily basis instead of keeping the end in mind (from one of my favorite books by Stephen Covey – affiliate link). Sometimes it is hard to even know what the end is with our kids and or how to break that down into daily living. Or is that just me? Like I said, this parenting stuff is certainly not for wimps. I do feel like having a few things in place like these charts does help in the long run. I also have a daily plan in my schedule for spending time with my kids, which should probably be a whole additional post, but if I don’t schedule
Like I said, this parenting stuff is certainly not for wimps. I do feel like having a few things in place like these charts does help in the long run. I also have a daily plan in my schedule for spending time with my kids, which should probably be a whole additional post, but if I don’t schedule specific time with them that is their time, it just isn’t going to happen. They need that time for sure! It is free (we just spend 10-15 minute together at our house doing whatever they select) and the benefits are so many I really do need another post for that.
Ok, so I have a plethora of charts for you. I know some people will want the cute circles and other will not want those. Some people call them chore charts and some responsibilities. Pick what you like. These are new colors, but I also have these with darker colors if you prefer that. Finally, I have the tickets and money for you as well.
Just click below to get your charts, tickets and money and begin to raise responsible kids (which if you are like me, means you are teaching yourself to be a responsible parent).
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