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You Gotta Love a List!

You Gotta Love a List!

If, like mine, your mornings are frenzied and full, and your kids seem not to remember from one day to the next, what they need to do to get ready to leave the house, then perhaps a list might help.

After years of trying to brush my teeth, whilst hunting for lost shoes, peeling half naked kids away from the television, and scraping peanut butter toast off the floor, my husband and I drafted a ‘to do’ list for the mornings, which is strategically dotted around the house, and relies on natural consequences for enforcement.
As a result, some of my kids have been to school in their slippers, each one of them has had to manage without his lunch on occasion, and one regularly attends kindy in his PJs. But that’s ok, because looking like a bit of an idiot because you forgot your socks, and missing lunch here and there aren’t going to do my kids any real damage, but they are punishment enough to teach them valuable lessons. Which I can see are being learned already.
And, most importantly, mummy has stopped shouting in the mornings, the boys help each other to get ready, and sometimes, there are even treats for great behaviour and team work.

What’s on the list? Well, it’s simple really, and it looks like this:

Every morning…
Brush teeth
Wash face
Get dressed
Pack bags – lunch, homework, water bottle…
Bags to front door
Keep the instructions short and simple. Stick to a word or two per line, if you can, so there’s no room for confusion. Add whatever you need – any item or activity can go up. If your kids are very little, draw pictures, or use the list as an opportunity to practice reading.
And why not try having an afternoon list too? Consider starting with ‘shoes in the box,’ then ‘lunchboxes and water bottles on the bench,’ and keep on going until everything is done. Add bed times, homework, ‘laundry in the basket’ and anything else the little darlings might be inclined to forget.
Good luck with your lists, and please, don’t expect miracles straight away. Think of this as a long term project and a work in progress. Be patient and lend a hand to begin with, and if you make a point of acknowledging each success, your kids will soon realise that getting it right makes you happy and that making you happy makes them happy too.


Abi Gold recently launched Juggle Family and Parenting Consultancy, which offers counselling and support for busy mums and dads, by Skype and by phone. Abi is a real life mum of 4, a Family Therapist, Counsellor and Family Mediator, who specialises in perinatal mental health and families with young children. Abi knows exactly how tough it can be to juggle all the things that busy mums and dads do, and has some great techniques for survival! Look Abi up at www.familyjuggle.com.au or give her a call on 03 9028 5955



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