Personalized home organization
Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
When raising kids, one of the main goals in our house is they become productive members of society. Will that happen when I do everything for them? Or should I start giving them some independence and ability to complete tasks themselves? Clearly, even with young kids, it’s time to start teaching them some life skills that will help them and you as their parent.
As a parent (and specially mom), I do a lot for my kids. However, that turns into a lot of things I have to do. In an attempt to ease the burden on myself, I have really focused on passing over some tasks to my kids. Now, my kids are young (6, 3 1/2 and 1), but there are some things they can do that will take tasks off my plate. I have thought through how I hand off those tasks and will share with you what that looks like.
When considering what tasks to hand off, I first want you to think about your day. When are you busy? In our house, I focus on before school and after school. Those times of day can be hectic and with three kids, means a lot of things need to happen. So, these are my times of day that I am focusing on handing off tasks.
That doesn’t mean I ignore other times, but these are my first. Personally, it’s easier for me to give my kids some independence when I have more time. I can take the time to help them bring their plate to the sink or help them put it in the dishwasher. Before they get to watch a show, I can guide them through picking up their toys. But before school, I am running around doing many things and it’s hard for me to stop in the moment and make sure they are doing what they need to be doing.
So, I can created a system in our home where everyone knows what is expected of them first thing in the morning so we can get out the door and onto school!
Once you figure out a time, think about the age appropriate tasks for each of your children (and even your husband if you’re doing a lot for him too…). In our house, my eldest is in charge of his morning. I do a few reminders to move with urgency, but he knows exactly what to do. He doesn’t even have to reference his checklist anymore because we have done it so often.
My 3 year old can follow his checklist. He needs help with some parts, like getting dressed, but can figure out what comes next. The boys even like to race which helps them move quicker.
My 1 year old clearly can’t do things on her own yet, but I do the same steps every day so when it comes time for her to follow her checklist, it is in the same order that she is already getting ready and can be an easy transition.
When thinking about what each kid can do, start with the whole process. Then, scaffold down for each child to their ability level. My 3 and 6 year old have the same checklist, just have different amounts of assistance because of their ages.
After you think about the tasks, slowly hand them over. No one does well with a task thrown in their lap without assistance. If you create a checklist for a kindergartner, walk through it with them for as long as they need. Slowly hand off different tasks.
When we started our checklists (I think my eldest was four), I talked through it with him to start and made sure he got every step. Then, I would hand off tasks he could preform on his own, like brushing his teeth. We assisted with getting dressed for a long time and he still gets dressed downstairs after breakfast. My next step is to have him get dressed on his own before coming downstairs (what we’re working on for the end of the school year).
When you slowly hand over a task, the child feels successful and is more likely to complete the task to an appropriate standard.
Yes, handing over the tasks has a benefit for our children. It helps them become more independent, learn life skills and feel successful.
It also has a huge benefit to you. If you think about all the things you have to do in a day, it is baffling we’re able to get them all done! So take the time to think about tasks your kids can do for you.
I started thinking about this a lot when we were pregnant with our third child. Three is a lot and I only have two arms! So I started thinking through what our almost five year old (at the time) could help with. Now, he has a lot more responsibility in our home and knows the expectations. He pushes back (of course) but knows he needs to do his afternoon checklist before he gets a snack. He knows when dinner is done, he needs to bring his plate to the sink.
Now, by the time my youngest is his age, I plan on having all three kids able to bring their plates to the sink and at least two able to put them in the dishwasher. This will save me time when we’re running to multiple activities after school and I have other things to finish up after dinner.
It will take time to teach your children (like everything), but the pay off is worth it. As your children get older, they will know the exaltation and what they are responsible for rather than trying to teach them that responsibility as teenagers (no thanks!).
We have all these tiny humans in our homes that we have to take care of. But at some point, they are more capable than we give them credit for. Try it out! Think of a task your child could be successful at and focus on allowing them to complete the task independently. It won’t happen right away, but if you take the time to follow these steps, your child has a chance to be successful and you get a task off your list!
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Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
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