You’re completely frazzled and rushing around the house. School starts in 30 minutes!
You call up the steps but you’re not even sure your kids are out of bed yet, let alone dressed.
You’re trying to get it all done. Make breakfast, sign all the paperwork/homework, pack lunches, and find that darn missing shoe. You can’t focus on one thing because it’s all coming at you at once.
The kids finally come into the kitchen and you run through your list of questions:
Is your bag packed?
Did you brush your teeth?
Do you have everything you need?
Do I need to sign anything for you?
Then, you find out one of them has a project due today that you didn’t even know about!
“We’re going to be late again!” you say, feeling defeated.
(Then, when you get home from drop-off you find their rooms a mess and the beds not made – things have GOT to change!)
Does this sound familiar to you?
These types of chaotic mornings totally sound familiar to me. When my kids were younger, we’d have to leave the house at 6:45 AM so that I could drop them off at 7 AM to make it into work on time. That morning rush was our normal routine, until one day when I got completely fed up with it.
I knew I had to do something about it.
Structuring a Stress Free Morning Routine
If these chaotic mornings are something that you’re struggling with, it is so possible to flip the script and have really nice mornings. Our mornings aren’t 100% perfect every single day, but most days now, my kids wake up, get dressed, brush their teeth, make their bed, go downstairs, empty the dishwasher, eat breakfast, and even some days, pack their own lunches. They are ready to head out the door on time! This is now their routine and what they are used to doing every morning.
It can be the norm in your house, as well. As long as you set up the routine and create a habit, it is possible.
Now, this shift didn’t happen overnight. We had to work up to this level of independence in each of our kids.
But, it’s wonderful.
Sometimes when I wake up, I come downstairs and it’s all done. All I have to do is double check everything and then we’re out the door.
What Needs to Happen
We’ve used every tool and chart under the sun. Some are really good, but they aren’t going to solve the problem. First, you need to have a solid routine to build on or it won’t work.
What actually worked for us was setting the routine with our kids and helping them stay focused. We did this by starting small-scale and working up to a full routine.
We started with a smaller routine with tasks that were age appropriate and easy for them to handle. It looked like this:
Brush your teeth
Make your bed
As they got that initial routine under control and as they got older and could shoulder more responsibility, we started to add things to the routine until we got to where we are now.
The Key to the New Routine
For our family, the key to this new routine working was empowering our kids to take charge of their wake-up instead of depending on mom to wake them up. We did this by providing them each with an alarm clock. We don’t do screens in their bedrooms, so we went with old school alarm clocks.
Then, we let them determine their wake-up time. We did this by giving them a time that they had to be downstairs and ready to go to school. Then, we worked backwards based on how long each task in the routine would take them.
Get A Head Start on Things
The other change in our morning routine that made the biggest difference in getting out the door on time was setting up as much as we could the night before. We began to discuss and set up lots of things the night before. We’re talking backpack packed up, lunches packed, clothing picked out, and even deciding what we’d have for breakfast. All planned out for the next morning before we even went to bed. That way, we didn’t spend time on the morning being indecisive.
Are you ready to say goodbye to chaotic mornings once and for all? It’s time to set up some positive systems in your home! 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.
One thing I know for sure – and you’ll hear me say over and over again is this: It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about money! I try to find spontaneous moments in my daily life where I can share with my kids about money. But, I try to teach them about money in a more structured way, too.
One way my husband and I do this is by holding Family Money Meetings. These meetings are designed for us to discuss and explain to our kids the process of earning money, spending money, and saving money.
What is a Family Money Meeting and why should we have one?
We had our very first family money meeting when we first introduced our kids to our chore and money system. The meeting was to discuss the new process and to make sure everyone was on the same page. We also wanted to get them excited about it.
We encouraged them to propose their own ideas or input into the new process and you can do the same with your kids. The more involved they are, the more likely they are to stick to the plan. If their ideas make sense and you can accommodate it, add it.
We now incorporate these Family Money Meetings into our schedule every few months to check in on the process and make sure everything is still working for everyone. We will also call a meeting sooner if there is an issue that needs to be addressed or a system that needs to be changed.
Here are 5 things we discuss at our Family Money Meeting
The first thing we need to discuss with our kids in a Family Money Meeting are the rules! The kids need to know what is expected of them. This should be very clear, down to the days things will be done and to what standard they will be completed. The more clear you can be about expectations, the more likely your kids will be successful.
Next, you need to discuss consequences. Discuss ramifications for things not being done, i.e. lose money and screen time. Be clear to explain that in the real world, people get fired if they don’t do their jobs.
For this topic, you want to let them know exactly what day each week they will be paid. Also, discuss what will happen each payday (see below).
After you talk to your kids about their pay day, you want to make sure they have a clear plan for what they will do with that money once they are paid. We suggest setting your kids up with three money banks: one for savings, one for spending, and one for sharing. You want to explain the three types of money banks they will have and talk about how they are different.
Once they receive their pay, they will be expected to divide up their pay into the 3 money bins. I leave it up to them to decide where their money goes but the only thing I do reinforce is that something has to go into each bin. You could make it so that it’s a standard % like 40/40/20 or any variation–really it’s up to you. Keep in mind that you will want to pay them in denominations that would be easy for them to divide, whether it’s quarters or bills.
Next, you’ll want to talk to your kids about keeping track of how much money they have in each bank. Explain to them that each time they add in or take out money, they will need to track it. This is so they will always know how much money they really have. Then they can properly decide whether they can afford that new toy or not.
In the beginning and depending on their age, you will be more involved with helping them figure this out or be supervising. This is to make sure they understand what to do.
Are you currently paying your kids to take care of certain jobs around the house? Or do you give your children a weekly allowance without requiring them to do anything to earn that money?
A while back I had an idea. I was always buying things for my kids and I thought, why don’t I take that money I was going to spend on them anyway and actually teach them some money lessons instead. Why don’t I pay my kids to do jobs! I love a good teachable moment!
Of course, my kids have chores that need to be done regularly around the house. Think: making their beds and doing their laundry. I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about the things that go above and beyond the normal daily household routine, like things that could be taken off my plate. For example: vacuuming the stairs, cleaning the microwave, or dusting the baseboards and shutters. Now, I pay my kids for doing those things.
If you’re wondering why, here are the 3 main reasons I pay my kids for doing these jobs around our house:
I want to teach them the basics of money management.
These are things like saving, spending, and giving. These are basic money lessons they are going to need to learn eventually. Why not start earlier on?
So, I’ll ask them what it is that they want to buy and they can slowly work up to saving for that thing. I have them divide the money into those 3 categories. How much do they want to put toward their goal, how much do they want to have available to spend on a treat, and how much do they want to put towards charity or gifts for others.
Now, this concept of teaching them to save what they’ve earned is really helpful in letting them in on how to budget their pay in the future. It starts them out on those habits but on a smaller scale. It will lead to a healthy relationship with money once they start earning their own income.
What I’ve noticed is that when they are using their own money, they are a bit more conservative with their spending. This tells me that what I’m teaching is really sinking in!
I want them to learn to have a solid work ethic.
They know this is a job and they know they have to do it well. Just like when they get out into the real world, they need to do their job properly in order to get paid. If they rush through it or don’t do a good job, I have them do it over before paying them. This teaches them the kind of work ethic I want them to have. Life isn’t just about having fun, you need to work hard, too. I always tell my kids: work hard, play harder.
In our house, the kids do their jobs on Saturday. They have to get their jobs done before they even think about opening their iPad or turning the TV on.
It’s all about responsibility.
My kids are each assigned different jobs and they are each responsible for making sure their job gets done and that it gets done well. If they are assigned a job, they need to do it and take ownership of their responsibilities.
Allowances vs. Jobs
If you are one who gives an allowance to your kids, I highly recommend you switch things up a bit. At the very least, in the verbiage. Think about what the word “allowance” says to your kids as compared to calling it a job and paying them for doing that job. When kids get an allowance, sometimes they feel entitled to the money instead of having to work for it. As adults, we know this isn’t how the real world works. We need to work in order to earn money, we aren’t just given money for existing. (though that would be nice, right?) It’s a tiny shift in language that could make a huge shift in your kids mindset and attitude.
I’ve always known that we all possess certain behaviors around money. But, I never knew someone had actually coined these into personality types until I started reading Money Harmony by Olivia Mellan and Sherry Christie.
I’m always looking to learn new things to better myself and so that I can share them with others. According to the ladies who wrote Money Harmony, there are 9 money personality types. Now, we can all possess a combination of these money personality types. It’s not that one is good and one is bad, what we want is balance. Everything in moderation is the goal!
Here are 5 of those personality types and how you can use them to grow a healthy relationship with money for yourself and your family:
Everyone can usually relate to this from time-to-time, especially if you’re someone with a bit of debt. Spenders are also often impulse buyers. You might have a tendency to spend a little too much and then feel guilty about it. It’s a cycle of spending followed by guilt. It can also cause some tension and friction in the family.
If you’re a spender, you can find a friend or accountability partner to help you out with this. Put them on speed dial and give them a call next time you’re ready to make an impulse buy. Take a step back and have your friend talk you through it.
You can also have a portion of your paycheck automatically transferred to your savings account. Now, since it’s deposited automatically, it’s done and you don’t even have to think about it!
This person likes to save and doesn’t like to spend. You definitely don’t like to spend on yourself and you especially aren’t buying frivolous stuff! You’d prefer to save for a rainy day. We all want to save, but you need to be aware of if it is causing friction between you and your family or friends. If that’s the case, you’ll want to take a look at your habits.
Consider once a week spending $20 on a treat or a snack you can enjoy right then and there. Or, once a month, spend $25-$50 on a gift for someone you care for. See how that makes you feel and make note of what it brings up for you.
Giving to others can feel nice and balance out your tendency to save too much all the time. It’s great to save, but it’s also okay to splurge from time-to-time. Don’t feel guilty about that!
The Money Avoider
If you are so overwhelmed with your finances that you don’t have any idea about your money situation, this might be you! You don’t know what’s coming in or what you owe, this can get messy really quickly.
Reach out to a family member or friend who is good with money. Maybe even a professional who can help you get organized. It’s okay to start slow to get a handle on your finances. Maybe just choose 3 bills to start with. List out how much you owe and the due date and start to track them on the calendar on your phone. Each month, add on another bill and eventually you will be on top of everything you owe!
The Money Monk
This person thinks that money is evil or that you are not worthy of having money. What these people usually end up doing is self sabotaging. So, subconsciously you self sabotage to the point where your life is suffering.
It’s nice to be generous and to give back, but if it’s to the extreme that it’s harming you, that’s not good.
If you’re a money monk, try to think of people that are wealthy and doing really good things in the world. Ask yourself what qualities you admire or respect in those people. Then ask yourself what you have in common with those people. Chances are, you’ll find that they are generous and so are you. It will help you see that being wealthy isn’t bad. The more wealth you have the more you can do for others. It’s all about a simple mindset shift.
This is your workaholic – they eat, breath, and live for work! They feel they can never have enough money even if they live a comfortable life. They’re never satisfied with what they have. When they go on vacation with their family, they are always working. This type of behavior will cause friction within the family.
If this is you, you can make sure that all of your work is taken care of before going on a trip. If that sounds like too much, start out with just one day where you put all your focus on your family.
I’m guilty of this one myself. I get so engrossed in my work that I tune everyone and everything else out. Then, I feel bad about it. You can ask your kids and family how they perceive your relationship with work. The last thing you want is for your kids to only see you working. Then, they may grow up thinking all there is to life is work.
Do you see yourself in any of these money personality types? Are you one or a combination of a few? How about your spouse? If you and your spouse have different money personalities, that can be good! You can balance each other out.
Looking for help setting a family budget that works for all of the different personalities in your house? Book a FREE 15 min call with me to find out how I can help you with your budget plan. To schedule your call, click here!
I see it time and time again with my friends, extended family, and even my own family in the past. As parents, sometimes we fail to plan for certain expenses and then, when those things sneak up on us, we scramble to find the money to pay or we end up moving money around to make it work. The whole cycle creates chaos and can cause conflict between spouses. But, it doesn’t have to be this way!
My goal is to help parents live a more prepared life. When we think of being prepared, you might immediately think of things like safety, but being financially prepared for situations is so important, too! Being prepared for unexpected expenses is just one way that parents can make sure they manage their household and raise independent kids that grow up to do great things!
When you prepare for the unexpected by adding some extra wiggle room in your budget, you avoid unnecessary stress, arguments, and you set a great example for your kids! The first step in being prepared for unexpected expenses is to recognize them.
From my observations, here are the top 3 expenses that I see most families fail to plan for:
#1 Birthday Gifts
Now I’m not talking about birthday gifts for our own kids or partner. I’m talking about all of the other birthday parties that pop up throughout the year. We all have kids and those kids get invited to birthday parties ALL. THE. TIME!
But, most parents rarely plan ahead, financially, for purchasing all of these birthday gifts. I have two kids and between the two of them it feels like we are getting invited to 2 or more kid’s birthday parties a month. That’s a lot of gifts to buy and all of those gifts add up to a pretty good chunk of change we’re putting out every single month.
# 2 Back-to-School Supplies
This comes around every year, yet every year we’re surprised by how it all adds up.
We buy our kids supplies like pens and pencils, crayons, markers, binders, and other physical school supplies, but that’s not where it ends. There’s also new backpacks and lunchboxes, new clothes, and more. Our kids grow every year, so every year they need new clothes!
When the time comes, every single year, back-to-school shopping hits hard. And, the more kids you have, the bigger the expense can get.
#3 Holidays and Parties
BBQ’s, potlucks, dinner parties – plus holiday parties and gatherings, oh my! They happen every year but we don’t always think to plan for them.
But why do they create such a large, unforeseen expense? If you host, you need to buy all of the food plus decorations. For me, I have a separate fund for our family food and groceries. But if I’m hosting a holiday or a party, I don’t want that to come out of our regular weekly grocery budget. It has to come from somewhere and if you don’t plan for where, it can easily end up going on a credit card.
Bonus: Christmas Shopping
I know I said I had 3 expenses that parents fail to plan for but I’m throwing in a bonus for you and it’s Christmas! So many parents don’t budget for Christmas gifts. Or, they budget for Christmas gifts but forget about ALL of the other expenses that come along with the Christmas parties, like food, decorations, and outfits! There is so much to spend on at Christmas time it can get overwhelming.
The Super Simple Solution
All of these things happen every single year, yet we always find ourselves caught off guard. Well, you don’t have to continue with that cycle! I have a super simple solution to share with you.
For each occasion, take the amount you think you normally spend on those things. For example, back-to-school clothes. Decide how much you think you normally spend each year to buy your kids new outfits, then divide that by 12 and put that smaller amount aside each month. Now, when back-to-school shopping rolls around, you actually have money dedicated for that that you can pull from. You don’t have to worry about where the money is going to come from or pull out your credit card!
When you start thinking of things early, you know it’s coming so you can plan for it and be more prepared.
If you’d like to learn more about budgeting for all of your yearly expenses, I’ll be hosting a Happy Family Budgeting Workshop in just a few weeks. Head here for all of the details and to get signed up!
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
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
Take care of pets
Do their own laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away)
Load and unload the dishwasher
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.