Creating a checklist to assist kiddos in being responsible

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It has been a while since I joined folks over at Rocks in my Dryer for Works for Me Wednesday. 

With mom working part time now and our lives in the midst of major changes, we were beginning to see our daily (and minuscule) activities causing us to take a downward spiral.  Our heads were spinning.  The husband and I decided that something HAD TO BE DONE AND HAD TO BE DONE NOW. My creative and ingenious husband ran with my idea of a checklist and look what we got:

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Let me explain.  The husband and I spent quite a bit of time deciding what had to be done by each child at certain points during the day.  He made a chart for each day which includes routine daily tasks (brushing teeth, putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket, behaving properly in the car) as well as action items specific to that day (Pumpkin packing her softball glove for class on Thursdays).  May I just tell you that we are into week 2 and it is MARVELOUS!  Absolutely marvelous.  There is really nothing magical about the charts.  We didn’t add a zillion new responsibilities or come up with an unrealistic list of expectations.  We simply wrote down the things that they were already doing (or should have been doing) so that they could take more ownership of their daily tasks.  Now, instead of having to be TOLD what to do, they already know it.  As long as we keep them focused on their list, the tasks get done.  Gone is the repetition of asking “Did you do that?”  We simply ask “How is your checklist?”  They run right to it and are typically finished and proudly show off what they accomplished with no nagging.  It is heavenly to pull into the garage after being gone ALL day and before I can convert back to my old ways of saying, ” get your shoes, your bag, your trash, etc”  the children are racing to empty out our van and rushing to the checklist that daddy leaves spread out on the coffee table everyday.  Now there is little questioning on what to do next.  You do what is required of you first with a happy heart then you earn the privilege of special activities such as computer time, playing outside etc. 

This little invention has also helped in the allowance issue.

For each section that they complete in the alloted time (i.e.  all morning routines on school days must be completed and the list signed mom or dad by 7:05 am) they receive a quarter at the end of the week.  Not only is this about chores and daily tasks, it is also about not whining in the car, helping mom with groceries, or doing anything asked of them without grumbling or complaining!  They can receive a maximum of around $5.00 per week.  This has ended the begging for items or going out to grab a snack.  I simply ask if they have money.  It is amazing how they tend to change their mind.  Of course they are required to give at least 10% of their allowance as an offering.  Two of the kiddos gave way more than that this past week with zero prompting from us. 

We are thrilled to simplify our lives and teach the children to be responsible.  In the past, I have adopted the reasoning that it is much quicker just to do it myself.  That is great in theory but momma gets tired.  And when momma gets tired, momma gets grumpy.  Our new system really has made a happier home.

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7 Comments

  1. Sheli
    Posted February 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to seeing this up close!

  2. Posted February 11, 2009 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I need something like this for myself!

    I recently got some notecards for Esme that have pictures on them of things for her to do – brush teeth, bath time, etc. I’m still figuring out how to introduce those to her – I figure it’s never to early to start getting organized!

  3. Posted February 11, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks. That was exactly what I needed!

  4. Posted February 11, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Great list! It is great to get the children involved to help the day be better.

    Have a great Wednesday!
    Sherry
    http://lampuntomyfeetandalightuntomypath.blogspot.com/2009/02/works-for-me-uplifting-music.html

  5. Posted February 11, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    It’s wonderful when you find a system that works for you, isn’t it? We’ve used the checklist at various times, and one thing we did was put it in a page protector. Then they can use a dry erase marker (or maybe even a waxy crayon) to check it off, and it wipes clean for the next day.

  6. Pam
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Your kids look SO happy in the picture, LOL! No, seriously, I think most kids like this kind of thing, and it sounds like yours are no exception! I really need to do something like this.

  7. Posted February 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Ah ha! You used a brad folder. A simple and great idea.
    Thank you!


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