Hey, guys! Today we are going to get personal in our #RealOrganized quest to get our homes and families organized. We are going to talk about a few ideas to help you be organized and raise responsible kids.
I know parenting styles vary wildly and I know that parenting is a personal journey for each of us. This parenting thing is most certainly not for wimps. Sometimes the day to day of parenting can feel overwhelming. Sometimes at the end of the busy day, we are just tired and want to put our feet up and relax, not follow up with our kids and make sure they are on track as well. Yet, if we don't take the time, the years we have with them fly by WAY too fast and we haven't taught them to be responsible adults before they leave our house. That is our goal today. Our goal is to keep the end in mind and put a system in place so that we can easily keep ourselves on track and therefore keep our kids on track as well.
This post is part of my #RealOrganized series. If you want the whole series, just click the graphic above or you can click here to sign up to have each week of this series and all the freebies directly emailed to you. The goal of this series is for you to be able to organize some of the things that as moms, we have to deal with on a yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily basis. By getting these things organized we can free up time in our week as well as space in our homes and minds. The main goal is to feel more organized and less clouded as moms so we can find time and space to spend with our family as well as do things we love and find fulfilling.
So, I'm just going to say it. The first thing we have to learn about raising responsible kids is that we have to step up to the plate and be responsible ourselves. Whether we feel like it or not.
I'm certainly not throwing you under the bus, because I'm the first to say that there are tons of days that I just don't want to, but I keep going because I know that in the end both myself and my kids will benefit.
For most of us, keeping going and being responsible ourselves means that we need some kind of consistent system in place. Something that has been decided upon by yourself (and your partner) and fully communicated to everyone in the family.
They system needs to have what the responsibilities are as well as what the specific consequences are for not completing the responsibilities.
You can do a Google search or a Pinterest Search and find tons of ideas as to what is age appropriate for your kids. While I find those things nice to make sure I'm not expecting too much, I also want you to think through the end result. What is it that you want your kids to leave your house knowing? Is it to keep organized themselves, how to do laundry, how to clean a house, how to take care of themselves, etc. I know this may sound odd, but it is really important.
What you want your kids to leave your house knowing is going to vary based on their age. You may focus on teeth brushing and making a bed with a three-year-old, but with a fifteen-year-old maybe it is knowing how to cook and how to do laundry. As I already stated this is very personal. You need to know what is important to you and your family.
Here is one of the hard parts for me. Scale it back. Yep! I've talked to a child psychologist who suggested that for most kids you only want to have 3 things to focus on in the morning and 3 in the evening. That was hard for me to swallow, but I think it makes sense. It makes it less overwhelming for your child and for you. Which is really good for the family in the end.
Once you have decided upon what you want your child knowing and that for which you want them to be responsible, you have to take care of the other hard part. What are the consequences for not completing their responsibilities?
Again, this is a totally personal thing for your family and for the ages of your children. What I do know, again from talking with a child psychologist, is having this specifically delineated will help you and your kids.
I'm going to HIGHLY suggest that your write all of this down somewhere. Once I had it all written down, it took so much of the emotion out of it.
I tend to get frustrated or angry with my kids when they don't do what they know they need to. It just seems so dumb to me, but then again I have an adult perspective. They need to learn to be responsible and they most certainly are not adults yet. I hate punishing them, but with the consequences fully laid out, there is no guess work. If they choose not to do what they are supposed to do. They have made the choice not to be responsible and I know what the consequence is. It takes so much of the emotion out of the whole thing and allows me to be much more calm and collected. I KNOW that is great for me and my kids in the long run.
Now, for most of us, once we have decided upon that for which we want to teach our children to be responsible as well as the consequences, we need some kind of visual to help us ALL remember. For me, that is a visual chart. Which of course I have for you in a couple of different versions.
Before you implement and make your chart, you have another decision to make. How often will you follow up with your kids and check that they have done what they need to do.?
This is something new to me. In the busyness of life, I didn't have a consistent schedule for when I checked charts. In talking with the same child psychologist, she was letting me know that it is too random for both my kids and I. They need clear expectations of what days and time the chart will be checked. There are no surprises.
Once you have all of this decided you are ready to create your chart. The charts I have for you are fully editable, so you can fill in whatever tasks you are following up with. You will find them at the bottom of this post.
As you can see above, I suggest you print your charts on cardstock and laminate them(affiliate link). Prior to laminating them, you can use a Sharpie to mark out any days for which your child is not responsible for that task.
For example, we do a whole house tidy up, but we only do that on Friday and Sunday. All the other days are marked out for that task. It makes it really clear.
Once the chart is laminated, your child can use a dry erase pen or crayon and mark off the tasks that they have completed. You can then follow up on your designated days and times.
One note about your follow up, you are only checking the items for that day. For example at my house, I check charts Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 pm. I am only checking the tasks listed on those days (and we have new charts that reflect this from when I took these pictures). In theory, my kids are making their bed everyday. However, if they choose not to make it on Tuesday, there is no consequence because I'm not checking charts on Tuesdays.
Ok, so I know I love hearing how other people do things and what works for them. So, now that I have given you the low down on how to make yourself accountable so you can be organized and work toward raising responsible kids, I will share how we are currently doing things at our house. It may sound clinical, but that is a good thing. I've got a system. It has been communicated thoroughly with my kids and I'm consistently implementing the plan. We went from a stressed environment to one in which my kids know what to expect and it has made a huge difference in my house, especially with my teenager (and my not yelling so much).
As I said, I check charts on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6 pm. My kids get one freebie per week. That can be used for one item on their chart they didn't get done by 6 pm. That item still has to be completed that day, but if they use their freebie, the time is extended until our bedtime/quiet time.
A couple of times each week, I spend time alone with each child for anywhere from 10-20 minutes. If they complete 3 of the 4 chart checks the week before they get double time with me. Yay! That is fun and they love this extra benefit!
If they are not done with their chart they lose the use of their phone or tablet for 24 hours. Conversely, if they have their chart complete, they have use of their phone or table until the next chart checking day.
I used to have them earn a ticket for which they could use for 30 minutes of TV time, but I'm not currently doing that. Though I have the cutest tickets for you to use if you like that idea. Once again the tickets provide a visual for you and your child and help set limits. In this case, the time they can use electronics or whatever you want to use the tickets for. They are just another tool and visual to help you as a parent to keep track and keep responsible with your kids. Another system to make it simple to follow through. Which may possibly be the key to successful parenting…that and lots of love!
As to what I have on our charts now, I have my kids making beds, keeping their rooms clean, feeding the pets, making school lunches, completing schoolwork or homework, cleaning the cat box, clearing their dishes, helping keep the house tidy and helping with our new weekly cleaning.
My kids also have the opportunity to earn money (another super cute printable you can personalize for your family) by helping with dishes, making dinner or folding laundry. I picked things that I would love help with and am fine paying them for those items because my kids already get a small allowance, I only have a few things for which they can earn additional money.
Again, those are all personal decisions for you and your partner to make and the printables are just another visual tool for you to use in implementing the way you want to organize your family.
So, now it is time for you to come up with your system for your house. This is most likely not going to be a quick 30-minute process, but rather something that you come up with ideas. Try them out. Hash things out with your partner and kids, try another idea and keep refining until you come up with what works for you and your family. It is also about refining what is important to you. You may not find the same things to be important that I do. That is the way it should be. Just like the other things in this series, the goal is not to copy cat what I am doing, but to use they printables and systems in a way that works for you and your family and helps you get more organized and feel less frazzled as a mom.
Just sign in below to get your charts and begin to raise responsible kids (which if you are like me, means you are teaching yourself to be a responsible parent).