August 4, 2009

Sticking to Routines

Ready or not, my boys go back to school in just two weeks. That means we are back on a schedule, and we have to be sure we are ready to head out the door on time each morning.

One of the best ways I keep my kids on task is by ensuring that they do their routines. They have simple routines they need to do each morning and each evening. However, they are easily distracted and tend to forget to do things, so I created a system to help them "stick" to their routines.

JENN_5868 Picnik

I took two little pails and stuck stickers on one to designate it as routines that are finished. I bought craft sticks at Walmart and wrote a routine on each of them. I also drew a simple picture because my little one wasn't reading yet. These are their morning routines. Each child gets a color, red or blue.

JENN_5869 Picnik

As they complete a routine, they move it to the "finished routines" bucket.


Their morning routines include getting dressed, making their bed, eating breakfast, brushing their teeth, folding their pajamas, emptying trash cans, etc.


Their evening routines work the same way. One child has green sticks; the other has yellow sticks. As they finish a routine, they move it to the "finished routines" pail.

Their evening routines include homework and getting their things ready for the next day. They also have to clean up their room as well as take a bath and brush their teeth.

I can check on my boys' progress with their routines by looking at their sticks. In a glance I can see which ones each child has done and what remains. Sometimes I simply ask "Have you done your sticks?" They know exactly what I mean.

When it comes to getting kids out the door in time for school, routine sticks "work for me"! For more great tips, check out the"Best Back to School Tips" edition of Works-For-Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.


  1. Love this idea - very creative! I enjoy any system that takes the "monkey" off my back and puts it on theirs!

  2. Good idea! We use a checklist during the school year (four kids might be too many sticks), but this would work great for weekly chores in our house.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. This is such a great idea! I think I will use this for our morning routines! I've been trying to figure out a way to make the mornings smoother as we start homeschool. Thanks for the tip...and thank you for stopping by my blog!

  4. Jennifer, this looks great! Well David never told me you were blogging. I tell you, trying to get info. from him.... :)

  5. What a great idea! I have a 3 y.o. and a 15 month old, and am researching some chore routines for them.
    My 15 mo. is known as "the dusting princess!"

  6. I love "the dusting princess". I think we can have a positive effect on our kids' work ethics by encouraging them to help out and making it fun!

  7. Great idea! At the moment, chores are working well at my house, but this would be great for making sure their everyday items don't get missed!

  8. What a fabulous idea!

    I do something similar, but not as cute. I have chore note cards for my hubby and myself. We have a set of 7 for weekly chores and a set of 28 for monthly chores (so they happen slightly more frequently than monthly, but we are talking about adding a few to the pile). Everyday one person gets a card from one of the two piles. If we miss a day then we have to double up the next day.

  9. This is a great idea. Might have to try it for my younger ones. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Like you, I enjoy when people take the time to comment on something I've posted.
    God's blessings,

  10. GREAT idea! My daughter's all about routines, so this is a good fit. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love your idea and will definitely try it as my girls get older. And it won't take up any wall space! ;)


  12. Ummm..this is the best idea I've heard all week. And calling it "Stick-ing" to your routine? I love it!


  13. Very colorful and clever. I'm sure your system works well! :~D



  14. Good idea! I can so tell you were a teacher! :)

  15. You're so smart! I love the color-coding and the "concrete-ness" of moving the sticks from one bucket to the other. Thank you!
    Thanks too for visiting my site - ah, both 4-Her's growing up - I think we're soulmates :) I agree that 4-H is a WONDERFUL program!!

  16. What a brilliant idea. I might try something like this with my ADD boys to help keep them on track in the mornings. :-)

  17. What a cute idea. I love it!! =)

  18. Great system! I have seen ideas similar to this, but not exactly the same. Really great job!


Thanks for visiting! I haven't been blogging long, so it is really fun for me when someone takes the time to comment!