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.
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!
Would you agree that kids tend to give up too easily?
My kids sure do.
Take my daughter and her homework for example. When she gets stuck on a problem, she gets really frustrated and whines about how she cannot figure it out.
She ends up sitting there, pouting…which leads to no homework being done.
So, what does mommy or daddy do? We come over and tell her how to do it. Which is all fine and dandy because we do want her to know that we’re there for her when she needs help.
The problem was in how we, as her parents, were helping her.
Instead of guiding her into figuring out the solution to the problem herself, we were essentially giving her the answers.
Instead of having her attempt to talk out loud her thought process to figure out where she is actually getting stuck and what exactly she doesn’t understand, we tend to jump in a little too early.
Anyone else guilty of jumping in too soon to help their kids?
She was not thinking for herself. What kids these days are missing is that critical thinking component.
Here are a few ways we take away from our kids’ independence:
Tell them the answer right away
Do it for them
Tell them how we think the task should be done
Ways we let kids think for themselevs and become more independent:
Ask your kids to explain what they’re stuck on
Give kids questions to think about as a way to guide them on what they need to ask themselves next to figure the problem out
One thing I’m working on with my kids is how to manage their time, especially in the morning.
Now this didn’t happen overnight, but we’ve gotten them on a morning routine that they are now used to.
They wake up, brush their teeth, get dressed, make their beds, come downstairs, get their backpacks ready to go, unload the dishwasher and eat breakfast.
My daughter does not like being tardy but she’s probably the one that drags her feet the most.
Most days she is good about getting her list done. Some days, like today, we’re twenty minutes from needing to leave the house and she has barely walked down the stairs.
Normally, I would jump in and remind them of the time and how they’ll be late if they don’t hurry up.
This time, I just let them be.
Eventually one of them noticed what time it was, and they got their act together.
We made it to school with 1 minute to spare but the entire time during the car ride there, they were quite nervous. Especially when we had to stop at each red light.
But the lesson here is that if I don’t let them figure things out for themselves and learn things the hard way, then I am not doing them any favors.
The quicker I let them fail and learn from their mistakes, the better it is for them in the long run.
An excellent example I got from another mom that I’m starting to implement with my own kids now is what I call, the Power of 3.
If they have a problem, they need to figure out for themselves three different ways they can solve that problem before coming to an adult to get help.
This could be anything. The key is that when they come asking for help, they need to list out the three things they did to figure it out for themselves.
This promotes independence, self-reliance, critical thinking, problem solving skills, and confidence while preventing co-dependency, low self-esteem and lack of confidence. And who doesn’t want that for our kids?
Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!
At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.
Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, we all face similar challenges each and every day.
Ultimately, all moms have the same goal — to ensure our kids are safe by creating an optimal learning and growing environment as best we can. It can seem crushing at times. Between juggling school work, extra-curricular activities, household chores, and events with family and friends, it feels like every single minute of the day is booked up.
That doesn’t leave room for personal time for yourself. We do our best, but most days it all boils down to being able to do whatever we can to survive. Even though a lot of us are glad when the kids go back to school in the fall, that’s when the real business of being a mom kicks into high gear with all of the activities.
So, how’s a mom to keep from losing her sanity when school starts back?
One of the best ways you can gain order in your house is to set routines early. I know that a lot of people hate routines and talk about how stifling they are. Trust me when I say that routines will be your saving grace and will help you keep your sanity most days.
And the earlier you can do this, the better off you will be. Sure, there will be a lot of days when the routine may be thrown off track. Add flexibility to your routine as deviations in routines can cause upset otherwise. You need to be able to roll with the changes.
Why have a routine in the first place?
Because it will be that pattern of stability you can go back to when you need it. If the routine is already ingrained, it will be a lot easier to adhere to overall.
One of the biggest issues with scheduling time is from sports or extra-curricular activities. As parents who did not have these opportunities growing up, we work very hard to make sure our kids have the chance to take part in them. As they grow up, these activities allow them to explore what’s around them so they can figure out for themselves what they do and don’t enjoy.
Providing Stable Routines Help Children Grow in Their Independence
Besides expanding the boundaries of their world to include school, sports, and clubs, this is also the time when they are really settling into their own opinions and personalities. They’re not only looking outwardly, but also inwardly to assert their independence. Establishing a stable routine helps children confidently begin the process of taking on and increasing responsibilities.
It’s important to establish rules, boundaries, responsibilities, and discuss good and bad choices early on. We do this with the understanding they’ll take these life lessons to heart later on when their decisions will have greater consequences. We let them do as much for themselves as possible. I’m a firm believer in promoting their independence as a life skill so they don’t need to rely on others as they get older.
Of course, things aren’t always going to be perfect because nothing goes as planned every single day. Some days will be better than others, but one thing is certain—different challenges will come and go. All that we can really do if we want to be successful parents is to give our kids tools so they can tackle the challenges that will come their way in the next phase of their lives.
Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids to be self-sufficient and responsible. And part of that means doing your own laundry. Getting my kids to do their own laundry has been a huge time saver for us! The earlier you can get this routine implemented with your own kids, the easier it will be for you and your family.
Don’t Push Your Kids – But Don’t Wait Too Long Either!
Please remember, every child is different and develops at a different pace. But that being said, overall, kids are more capable of doing things on their own than we give them credit for. (Let’s face it—if they can operate a smart phone or video game system, they can do their own laundry!)
The problem is that we either subconsciously don’t want them to be independent or we think that it will just be quicker and easier if we do it ourselves instead of taking the time to teach them how to do it.
The Best Way to Teach Laundry Responsibility To Your Kids
The best way to do all of this is to introduce laundry to them in phases. When they’re younger, get them involved in the laundry process with you. Let them see you sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting the clothes away. Be sure to explain what you’re doing as you go so they can understand it.
Teach Kids in Phases All the Parts of Laundering
As your kids get older, you can let them join you in doing different parts of the laundry. This can include simple tasks like sorting their own clothes out into a pile to fold or have them fold something simple with you like shorts or small towels.
The idea is that eventually, over time, they will become used to all the different processes and (with a little supervision in the beginning) you can let them do each part of the laundry process on their own.
The phases my kids went through when they were learning to do laundry:
Phase 1 — Put their folded clothes away
Phase 2 — Fold their own clothes + Phase 1
Phase 3 — Take their clothes out of the dryer + Phase 2 + Phase 1
Phase 4 — Take their clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
Phase 5 — Put their dirty clothes into the washer + Phased 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
Phase 6 — Put detergent and fabric softener in and start the washing machine + Phase 5 + Phase 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
A Little Investment of Time, Pays Off Eventually
I think I started my kids on this process when they were 5 and 7, although I definitely could have involved them in it a lot earlier. Now they are 8 and 10 and they’re doing their entire laundry on their own. (Up until last week, my oldest was taking care of measuring out the detergent. But now, the 8-year-old wants to learn how to pour out the detergent, so he’s getting there!)
It is SOOOOO worth it to take that extra time and effort to train the kids on these processes. I know sometimes it’s much quicker to just do it yourself. But in the long run, your kids will learn how to be more self-sufficient and you won’t regret the decision to teach them when they are young.