As a professional, my job is to understand systems and processes. When something isn’t working, we are required to reevaluate the process, tweak it accordingly, monitor the new process, test results, and do it all over again.
And what I’ve come to know, is that it should be no different at home.
Call me crazy, but we should be running our family home like a business. And in order to be “operating” efficiently (happy and healthy) we have to implement processes and systems.
Here's a recent example in which I realized SOMETHING had to change.
My kids were (for a while) lacking responsibility. This was 100% our fault for enabling them, but we realized that they relied on my husband and I to either do everything for them or tell them to do it. At a macro level, this caused them to have a sense of entitlement, and frankly created bratty little monsters. But from a micro-perspective, this made our LIFE difficult; getting out the door in the mornings was a complete shit show, coming home after school was frazzling, and evenings were just a giant free-for-all.
So, as I noted earlier, when something isn’t working, tweak the process. And that’s what we did.
I created a checklist of responsibilities for each of them for morning, afternoon, and evening. This ranges from the basics (brushing teeth, making bed, etc.) to things that are more chore-like items (dishes, laundry, etc).
What I learned is that kids are just like adults. They love to complete tasks, and they LOVE to be able to check things off their lists. Just like us, this gives them gratification! And especially in the morning, after completing a list of things before they even get out the door, they are already feeling pretty awesome about themselves.
Additionally, this gives them structure. And structure is a child’s BFF. If they know what’s next, they are more likely to respond positively, whether they really LOVE what’s coming or not. And sooner than later, these things just become habit, and I like the idea of creating positive habits for them from an early age.
Needless to say, the results are in, and this new process has been working like a dream. Not only has it made our mornings much more efficient (which is a life-changer for working parents), but now they recognize that before they go play with friends after school, they have responsibilities. And before they go to bed, they have responsibilities – just like mom and dad. In general, as humans, they need to learn that they have responsibilities! Work hard to play hard… right?!
Most importantly – what I’ve appreciated most about this new system is the weight that has been lifted in realizing that my husband and I don’t have to be responsible for EVERYTHING anymore. It’s a family affair! That, FOR SURE, has been incredibly liberating. And let’s be honest, the earlier kids can have a sense of responsibility – the better!
Want to snag the checklist I use? It's definitely not earth-shattering, but it's a game-changer. Click below to download!