A big part of our jobs as parents is to teach the kids to be able to live on their own. So when you have kids in a zillion after school activities and sports but no time to help at home you may have a kid that can kick a soccer ball, but not know how to do laundry at their college dorm room. Or manage finances. Or know how to take care of things.
One way to counteract that is to have a routine for your child. Even if most of the bigger chores can only be fit into the weekend.
If they have a phone with apps you can get a checklist app. Otherwise a clip board with the routine checklist inside a clear page protector with a dry erase marker works well. I’ve also seen people put the checklists in a picture frame and then use dry erase markers.
Start with the morning. What do they need to do before they go to school or homeschool? Perhaps:
- Wake up with alarm
- Clean clothes on
- Eat breakfast
- Clear spot
- Brush teeth and comb hair
- Pack a lunch
- Make sure you have your backpack, etc.
- Do one chore – ie put a load of laundry in, wash dishes, put dishes away, dust, sweep (2 or 3 on the weekend)
Then after school, what needs to be done and can fit in a schedule for afternoon. Perhaps:
- Hang up backpack
- Put school notes into Mom’s inbox
- Pack up for practice
- Do one chore
In the evening when the kid’s get home from their after school activities, what would you like them to do? Some ideas:
- One chore
- Family pick up time
- Brush teeth
- Reading time
If you aren’t sure what chores are appropriate for your kid’s age, you can check out this page. Your chore list will probably be on a different list so you can portion them out. For more tips on chores you can read my post on chores and kids. I also love this post on a successful bedtime routine.
You don’t want to overload the kids, but at the same time they can feel more in control when they help organize their surroundings. Plus, it’s good for your kids in the future. The bonus for you is you do less nagging because the kids know what to do next.
Tweak your routines as their activities change. Your routines are never set in stone. Instead they define a path to use.