When my kids were younger I loved using routine charts, behavior charts, chore charts, and the like. I am after all a former preschool teacher. I love lots of color, cute patterns, characters and all that. Those charts were awesome at helping keep my kids on track at least most of the time. Now that they are older though they don’t want charts like that, they told me “no more baby charts”. Ok I get it. So I quit using the charts, I figured that they are older and had their chores and routine down pretty well so they probably didn’t need the visual reminders. I was wrong. At first they did keep up the routine that was habit for them, but slowly overtime they fell out of habit. Then I started noticing that the chores were not done correctly if at all. Talking to the kids what I kept hearing from them was “Oh I forgot I was supposed to do it that way” or “I forgot to do it” or even “I don’t remember how”. I was pretty annoyed as they had done these for so long, and I was assuming that they were just giving me excuses until I really thought about it and realized that for myself as an adult I do much better with my to do lists. For me personally there is something super satisfying about crossing off items on my to do list. In fact part of my morning routine is to get up before anyone else, have my coffee and make my to do list for the day. I start by moving anything left over from the list the day before, and then add to it anything I need to add and I always check my google calendar. So my task then was to figure out a way to incorporate charts and routines back into my kids lives that help them be more independent without using cutesy charts etc. Have you seen charts out there for the pre-teen and teen stages? boring. Not a lot of variety and uninspiring to say the least. At least what I was finding. However as I was reading a blog post from my friend Lisa on another topic, I stumbled on a previous post she had written where she made these really cool list binders for her kids. I thought they were so super cool. So I set out to try and do something similar. I followed her post pretty closely but made a few changes to fit our needs.
First I couldn’t find the binders she used, however I used the these instead.
I then customized their daily to do/routine list and put it on the front of the binder. Each child was provided with a dry erase marker so they can check these items off and the last item on the list is : Return binder to Mom & Dad. Ideally we will check it each night. Realistically it doesn’t always happen. Just keeping it real y’all.
Another thing I added to it was a detailed check list of each chore they are assigned for the day. I printed them out and put them in page protectors so they can easily be moved from binder to binder as I rotate the chores, this eliminates the “I forgot that step” part of the chore. For my son who takes medication in the evenings, I wrote out the steps and measurements so that he can be more indepedent with that. He is after all a teenager but the Momma bear/control freak in me worries so I can ensure that he takes the right amount, cleans up and puts it away. He does need a little more guidance then some kids his age so I also put on a reminder that he is to never take any meds from anyone other then mom and dad, and never take meds from a container that doesn’t have his name on it.
Here is a closer look at one of the step by step charts. This one is a bit different as it hangs in the family command center in the kitchen because all 3 kids clean the kitchen together since we have a big kitchen and “many hands make little work”. On this one the kids put their initials on each of the 3 tasks they do and then when we go in to look later and something isn’t done we know who to call back in to address it.
Is this a perfect system? Nope, but it is a whole lot better and the kids seem to like it. I think overall in the 3 weeks since we implemented it it has about an 85% success rate and I am happy with that as there is always room to improve.