Effectively using a checklist has helped people accomplish extraordinary goals. It’s not just beneficial for monumental tasks like landing on the moon or organizing a family reunion. Having a visual plan is the best way to help your child ready themselves for school!
The advantage of choosing to make your own checklist is the flexibility. It may not be as interactive or pretty, but being easily modifiable allows it to function best for your family. Every family is unique with different schedules, personalities, and goals, so your checklists should reflect that.
The best checklists become personal tools we want to use because they enable us to achieve a goal. Having a list without an incentive to actually use it is a poor strategy. Here are some things to consider to help you develop a list that will empower your child’s routine.
Keep It Simple
Focus on a plan of action for a particular routine during your child’s day. For example, define what it means to your family when it’s time to get ready for school. Something that occurs the evening before is not something to worry about after breakfast. Try to prompt the necessary actions to get ready!
Looking at a list of what needs to be done improves our situational awareness. Drafting an itemized list to discuss with your child will help you simplify a hectic routine.
Children need to clearly understand what it is that you expect of them. How does a checklist help them manage those responsibilities? As we all know very well, children are clever and have very different personalities. If being “efficient” means more work without any new personal gain, then there’s no incentive to even try.
Introduce your child to the strategic value of using a checklist. Offer an incentive and a plan to better manage what they’re currently doing. For example, the benefit of choosing to be ready to walk out the door before breakfast may mean extra time to play before the bus comes. So, it’s up to you to explain how having a plan and a checklist can help make that goal possible and help your little one better understand how to manage their responsibilities.
Is My Child Too Young?
Using simple graphics, a preschooler can start using a checklist as a reference. Understanding how to be self-directed is a gradual process that children are constantly learning. A visual reminder can also encourage your child to take responsibility to complete tasks independently. The satisfaction of our accomplishments can be empowering!
Mindful By Design
Having a clear purpose for your checklist is essential. A family morning can involve a lot of multi-tasking, problem-solving and distractions. When rushing to remember everything, it can be easy to forget an important step.
Let’s look at a helpful (and probably relatable) example: if your child is spending a lot of time planning an outfit every morning, maybe you add to your list that you pick out the outfits the night before. Add this into your nighttime routine, and lay the clothes out for the morning!
Planning a checklist for your child can be a useful organizational tool for parents. When evaluating tasks, aim for solutions that simplify routine steps. Having items regularly stored in a naturally prepared location is a clever technique.
A list is only useful if it’s convenient to reference. Select a location to post your child’s checklist in the area they’re getting ready. Having easy access can help them focus on the tasks and motivate them to avoid distractions.
Having the same list in more than one location may be beneficial as well. However, an excess of references, steps, and lists can be a drawback. Using a checklist should be a speed bump in your routine to focus your attention, prompting intentional actions instead of relying on muscle memory.
Feelings of being micromanaged and having multiple lists to keep track of are why some people dislike using a checklist. Finding the correct balance for your family will be key to your success!
Should I Include Marking Boxes?
Arguments about proper formatting are ultimately just opinions. A checklist without indicating completion is simply a variation, also known as a to-do list. The most crucial factor to consider before you invest any time or money is how easy it will be to make adjustments.
Marking off items is a fantastic way to evaluate, assess progress, and group items. You want to facilitate a routine that has already taken those benefits into account. The advantages to your child marking off completed tasks are reinforcing the list as a reference, tracking their progress, and reminding them of anything they overlooked.
You want to avoid anything that would add further complexity to your morning. If possible, streamline your morning routine and organize the checklist so that mentally checking off items is sufficient. A paper list of tasks created on your home computer is easy to amend or mark off by hand.
How Can I Make It Better?
The simple beauty of a list is how easy it is to change. A few things need to happen to evaluate how practical a checklist is. For starters, your child needs to understand and practice using the list. The goal is to increase communication, situational awareness, and productivity!
Learning As A Family
The strategic use of lists involves critical thinking and takes time to process. What is apparent to you may not be apparent to your child.
Some children benefit from interacting with their checklist. It’s particularly helpful for children with attention difficulties. Moving a magnet along a design that incorporates tasks is a therapy tool to encourage self-care for children with learning differences.
Few children need a reminder to visit the bathroom. However, many parents find detailed hygiene reminders essential. It can be disheartening to learn from the dentist that flossing needs to be a separate line item on your list.
Parenting is a complex endeavor that requires you to give yourself grace (you’re doing awesome, parents!). Be intentional about following up, relax the standards, and be sure to include humor. What’s the point of life if you can’t laugh at yourself a little?
Regularly reviewing the checklist with your child when they first start using it can be effective. Listening to them explain the tasks can be helpful to catch misunderstandings. You can also encourage ownership by requesting their feedback for improvements.
It’s okay to have goals to improve the time you experience together as a family. A family that enjoys the time they have together has stronger bonds. The advantage of learning to manage routine tasks better allows you to spend more time having fun together.
Consistency is essential whenever anyone is establishing new habits. You want to be able to make adjustments that accommodate both you and your little one’s preferences. However, the dynamics that make up a family are complex. Changes in routine can have a ripple effect and can unintentionally impact another family member’s routine. Slowly making changes will help limit these effects while stressing the importance of being considerate to everyone.
Consider shifting anything that isn’t time-sensitive to a different time of day. Many people find that preparation done in the evening improves their sleep quality. Other families prefer an early start time for the fresh approach.
Reward your child for working on the list and checking things off. Maybe they get to video-call grandma and grandpa or get a few extra minutes to read their favorite book on the Caribu app!
The amount of effort it takes to be efficient is conditional on how well you have mastered a skill. It can be easy to overlook how hard it took to gain extra free time. Rely on your instincts to know when your child is ready for you to expect more from them.
Kids with extra time should benefit from their efforts. It can be a bonus to the entire family to reward efficiency by providing optional extra chores with attached privileges. These are clearly “above and beyond” tasks with tangible incentives. The duties may or may not come with additional regular responsibilities, but that can be clearly defined.
A good time to redefine normal expectations is just before developmental milestones. These are occasions that celebrate accomplishments or lead up to significant changes in a family’s routine, such as a birthday, the chaos of being on a new school team, or a change in family circumstances. Starting just before these events can help establish new tasks or expectations.
More Time For Family Fun
Inspire a sense of belonging by talking through strategies that allow more time for fun. Incorporating family feedback into lists that help accomplish these goals!
Hectic schedules make it necessary to be intentional about the time we devote to our loved ones. Humor is important in social interactions, so don’t forget to give your family permission to be silly. Those who feel connected with their family are often the ones who spend time being goofy and laughing together.