As kids become older, they have more responsibilities, and frankly just a lot more work to manage. First of all- there is whatever homework assignments that they have brought home, elementary schoolers are asked to practice their math facts for 10 minutes each night, and they need to read (sometimes independently and sometimes with a parent) for 20-30 minutes each night. If they are playing an instrument in the school band- they need to carve out 20 minutes of practice time a night. If they play a sport, there are often drills/skills that need to be practiced several times a week. How do you fit it all in? And make sure that it gets done?
And don’t forget chores around the house. You want your kids to make their beds, empty the dishwasher and put away their laundry? Let’s face the facts… they are never going to spontaneously remember to do any of this on their own… and your “Mommy brain” is going to get in the way of you remembering to remind them…. until all of the sudden you do and you end up yelling/nagging/complaining that they never remember to do what they are supposed to do!
But there is a solution to this problem my friend.
Your Kids Need Their Own To-Do Lists!
I’ve created this simple Excel spreadsheet that I can print each week that lists each of their practices and their school / band / sports assignments. This is posted on my command center wall and each of my kids knows that they are expected to check the chart daily and make sure that they have accomplished everything that is listed for them. For me this has been a huge burden- of guilt honestly- lifted from my shoulders. I no longer get to Friday morning and realize that no one has picked up an instrument all week. Or drive a kid to soccer practice knowing that he hasn’t worked on the skills even once since the last session. It helps me to remember to carve out time for reading for each one of them, instead of waiting until bedtime and realizing I need to still spend 20 minutes each with my younger kids.
I created my Kids To-Do List in Excel so that I can easily update it with any schedule changes and update it with what they kids need to work on (Alex has just about mastered the show tying thing now!). It certainly doesn’t need to sync to my calendar, so it is fine to keep it as it’s own “stand alone” to-do list.
What- No Chores on This Chore Chart?
You know, I approach chores a bit differently during the school year than I do in the summer months. During the school year, I expect my kids to make their beds, straighten up their rooms, clear and load their own dishes, and help me out when I ask them to set the table or clean up the playroom or family room. Beyond that- I do not assign them other cleaning types of chores during the school year, as I tend to do that stuff during the day when they are at school.
But in the summer months- all bets are off- and everyone has chores to do that help me keep up with the house! And during this time, they also can earn allowance and summer spending money when they complete the items on their summer chore charts (something they don’t get to do during the school year).
Ready for this week’s homework?
This week I would like to for you to pick one area where planning ahead would take a load off of your week, and commit to spending time each weekend in this area to “get ahead of the game”. On Friday I will have a link-up where you can share a post on how you are using this Momof6 Get Your Life Organized Challenge to help you gain control over your busy life!
Please leave a comment here today sharing whether or not you use chore charts or to-do lists for your kids! And I will see you here on Friday when we wrap up this 4-week Boot Camp!