Here are some daily habits your kids can do that’ll not only make your life easier, but will teach responsibility and self-control at the same time.
If you are anything like me (Type A, fairly conservative, believer in hard work and grit) then you probably share a fear of mine…
The fear that we’re going to raise entitled kids.
We believe in our kids, see their potential, and know they are capable of great things… but the hard part is this.
Let’s talk about what being entitled actually is for a minute.
Entitled (n): an attitude, demeanor, or air or rudeness, ingraciousness, combativeness, making excessive demand for service, feeling like you have the right to do or have what you want without having to work for it or deserve it. (combined dictionary sources)
The encouraging thing is this: when we have fair and sensible rules and boundaries – and require our kids to respect these – we help teach our children responsibility and positive habits.
This week’s post is about some habits that help create a sense of order and peace for moms who are desperately overwhelmed.
Can you relate?
- You feel like all you do all day is chase your kids around and pick up after them.
- You feel like the kids make a lot of messes, but never want to help tidy them up.
- The kids expect you to do everything for them and don’t want to try to do it on their own.
- You feel like a “victim” of your children instead of feeling like a leader.
If this is you, be encouraged, we’re going to dive into this a lot in the near future. But for today, let’s start with a few simple habits that will bring you some much needed peace as well as teaching your children mastery over some important life and character skills.
Daily Habits For Your Kids
Note: These are examples from our own house, but the sky is the limit! Think of things that cause you stress and figure out how to incorporate your children into the solution!
Peaceful Mornings… Day Time Start
There is a cumulative effect to being Woken Up With a Start.
Many moms wake up and hit the ground running.
Bandage boo boo
Comfort crying toddler
Snack time (already?)
And on and on…
This is #momlife and we wouldn’t trade it for the world, but day in and day out this can be jarring. There is something to be said for having a bit of space in the morning where you can gather yourself, pee alone, and think about the day to come.
The “Day Starts At X” Rule
Choose a time of day that correlates well with your children’s natural wake up time, and create a rule.
No one can come out until such time. This allows you to wake up a bit earlier than that time and have peace. Read your devotional, Bible, drink your coffee alone, even just stare out the window in the calm before the storm.
Note: Of course if your children needed you, you would respond!
In My Home: This Rule In Action:
- 7:30 a.m. is our official start time.
- Anyone who wakes up earlier than this simply plays in their room or occupies themselves until it’s time to “come out.”
- If my 3 year old wakes up at 7 a.m. then I’ll give him some books to read quietly in his crib. The baby generally sleeps until this time, but if not will play with his stuffed toys. My 4, 6, and 7 year olds will read books, play with their toys, or call out from their rooms “Is it time yet?” #transparency. You can also get one of those handy clocks that lights up when your morning time starts (see links below)
- I wake up much earlier than this so I am ready to jump into Beast Mom Mode by this time. I go to the gym, read my devotional and Bible, and then may take time reading a novel or researching something or other.
What does this help kids master?
- Boredom as a tool to creativity
- Respect for boundaries
Snack And Meal time Clean Up Rules
Serve breakfast. Clean up breakfast. Serve snack. Clean up snack. Serve lunch. Clean up lunch. Serve snack, serve dinner, clean up wreck of a kitchen.
Once when my bestie was getting married she asked me for some words of wisdom about marriage and family life. My answer was this: it’s basically doing the same 5 or 10 things over and over and over and over again every single day. (I feel like she wanted something more romantic.)
Messes take up a lot of time for mom. They also take up a lot of emotional and mental bandwidth because – depending on your personality – messes = clutter and clutter = low level anxiety.
A clean up rule.
This might mean that you create set rules on how you want meal times to go finish. Perhaps you want all snacks to happen at the table, then bowls be taken to the sink or counter.
Maybe you decide no one can leave the kitchen after meals until it’s all clean. We do this with dinner. Everyone gets a job. Put dirty dishes on counter, load dishwasher, sweep floor, wipe down table top, etc.
It’s a total manic chaotic madhouse, but we persevere in hopes it’ll eventually pay off. Also, after 15 minutes it’s totally clean and when they’re in bed I DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE.
What does this help kids master?
- Contribution and responsibility
- Diligence in completing chores to the family standard
- Patience and self-control to put off play until hard work is done
Play Time Clean Up
This is similar to the above rule, but it relates to toys and play.
There is no mystery here.
There is no secret sauce or phrase or word that’ll make it easier. There is not much you can do (except the tip I share at the end of this post) to get your kids excited about picking up.
You just gotta get them to do it.
There are endless ways to do this, but choose what best works in your home.
- No moving on to the next activity until you clean up the first one.
- Allow 2 messes, but not 3 before they gotta clean it up. (got that gem from this post which I literally printed and keep on my desk)
- Establish designed cleaning times (before nap and before bed, for example)
- Set the timer for 10 or 15 minutes each day and have everyone contribute to clean up.
Doesn’t really matter how you do it, just that you expect them to clean up their own messes. They’ll actually feel good about this, even if they complain.
What does this help kids master?
- Tidying skills
- Organization skills
- Work before play (or at least not ONLY play) mentality
The key is to make this as easy as possible. Big baskets. No micro organizing, all macro. They can quickly go around their rooms and put toys away. If it’s a toy with a lot of pieces, they can put it back in its box or another box you chose.
Unless YOU WANT TO CLEAN UP or your kids are very precise, methodical, and older don’t color coordinate or you’ll end up having to do it all yourself. If they are willing to keep the color coordination, go for it! If not, ditch it.
If you are introverted, a stay at home mom near burnout, or simply easily overwhelmed… rest time is key.
Both for you and your kids.
But even if it was ONLY for you, that’s okay.
If you’re home all day with your kids, put them to nap or rest at the same time. Then you can get at least a couple of hours of rest, peace and quiet, or time to yourself. After all morning with my 5 kids (7 years old and under) I am in need of silence. I gotta have it.
Keys To Rest Time:
- Give older children clear boundaries. They can play in their rooms quiet, read books, or go to a designated area, but they can’t be loud or come out of the area you’ve put them in.
- Put all babies and toddlers down to nap at basically the same time. This means they need to learn to go to sleep on their own. But you can handle that. It’ll make your life a whole lot easier for many reasons.
- Set a realistic time period. It may be one hour, maybe two, but go with what your children can handle.
- Remember, they may fight it at first (they likely will) but they will begin to love it. No sharing, nobody messing with them, no fighting for supremacy. They are masters of their own world.
- If everyone doesn’t have their own room, choose random rooms of the house, doesn’t matter which. If possible, don’t have them do rest time together. It will not likely be restful.
If you work during the day and need 15 minutes of peace when you get home, have rest time then. Don’t use it if you don’t need it, but bring it out as a way to give everyone a bit of recharge.
Emergency Re-calibration Habits
Kids are gonna get rowdy.
That’s good. Shows they have life, they have energy, they want to experience the fun things in life.
There is also a time and place to be loud and wild and often times you need to calm the kids down for a bit. If you begin to feel like you’re losing it, you need some tricks up your sleeve. If you can intervene before it gets too loud and crazy, you’ll be one step ahead.
If you can work these into your normal day around the time that the kids always lose it, you’ll be 10 steps ahead.
Emergency Re-calibration Tips
- Everybody sit with a book. We will ask our kids to grab a book (or 5) and pick a seat and read or look at pictures with no talking. It does require some “shhhh” ing, but overall they get it.
- Go outside time. If they are loud and wild and hyper let them run free and play. Even if you have to supervise it for a bit, noise outside doesn’t grate quite so much as screaming inside.
- Read aloud together. While this may feel annoying because you actually want to move away from your kids for peace, sometimes reading aloud together is soothing. They will quiet down for a story and you can feel fondly of them again since they aren’t running around wild.
- Give them a minute of loud crazy then make them pipe down. “Whew, you guys are loud. Y’all really got some things to get out. I’ll set the timer for one minute and I want you to yell and scream and fuss and stomp as loud as you can. After that, we’re done.”
- Alone time. Even our kids are recharged by alone time. If they simply can’t handle being around everyone without flipping out or fussing or screaming, let them go to their room with a favorite toy or two and reset.
“This Before That” General Rule Of Thumb
So… if you’re thinking how on earth do I start these habits, I want to offer one final parting word of advice.
Do the less fun before the more fun.
Do chores before TV time.
Do clean up before outside time.
Do every thing before screen time.
Organize your day the “South African way”.
This means you organize your daily routine with toddlers and preschoolers so that they’re doing the fun stuff after they do the hard stuff. Work first play later, if you will. If you are struggling with where to begin, choose one daily routine or habit, and shove it in front of something fun they like.
This’ll be your fastest path to success.
You’ve got this, mom…
If you’ve been feeling like you are a shell of a person and slave to the little people you birthed and you just want some stinking peace and help… you can have it.
Kids will do what they’ve been trained (by us) to do.
If you’ve inadvertently trained them to do nothing for themselves, then you can
advertently (okay that’s not a word)… purposefully train them to help out. To respect your need for some quiet.
You will be happier.
They will feel more responsible and therefore happier.
The home will run more smoothly.
Want to Help Your Child Learn Their Routines?
If you want to give your child some visual clues to help them learn their own routine without the nagging… these printable routine cards will help.
Grab your cards, print them onto cardstock, laminate them using this inexpensive laminator, and put them up so your children can get set learning their routine.
Inside the routine cards you’ll get visual routine for:
- Morning routine
- Bedtime routine
- Mealtime routine
- Chores routine
- Playtime routine
PLUS you can actually edit them in Word or Pages to add more elements that’ll fit your own routine. And since they are printable, you can re-print a new set any time you want for as many kids as you want!
I’ve created a free email series just for you! If you struggle with creating an easy flowing routine or rhythm in your home… this is it. I’ve gathered all my easiest routine hacks into one free series and, best of all, you can get a big sneak peak into our book that has over 25+ routines for babies ages 6 weeks to 5 years. This series will help you:
- find a routine and rhythm for your child
- learn how to juggle multiple routines (for 2 or 3+ kids)
- know what is and isn’t working so you can make one tweak that’ll change your day
Click here to sign up for my free email series or simply click on the image below.
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