We are more than half way through the summer. What this means in my family is that my well intentioned plans for daily routines, educational activity time, and summer outings have long since fallen by the wayside. Some days the kids are lucky if I do their hair.
Am I the only one who suffers from the midsummer funk? I like to think I’m not alone in this. Having the kids around all day, every day for weeks on end, disrupting daily life with family trips—and all the micromanaging and refereeing that accompanies such large quantities of uninterrupted family togetherness—is exhausting. I caught myself wishing away the summer a couple days ago, which is just so wrong. The question is, now that the summer funk is happening, how do I get out of it?
To begin, I find that it’s much easier on me if I don’t put too many things on the kids daily to do list. That’s why I started the summer with just three items on their daily to-do lists: Get ready for the day, clean up their toys around the house, spend an hour doing something educational. I don’t plan on adding anything to that list now, especially since we’re having trouble completing just those three things on a daily basis. If you have a long complex list of things your kids have to do, consider consolidating items or eliminating some.
To infuse the daily do’s with a little more excitement here’s an idea to mix things up. Instead of using the old sticker charts (ours had been torn, and thrashed to the point that I had to throw them away), try creating a digital check list that the kids can check off themselves.
What I did:
First I used OneNote to create the list. Why? Because this is a free app that is available on all devices—iPods, old cell phones, tablets…you name it–as long as it at least has WiFi capability. For some reason, using a touchscreen to check off their jobs is very incentivizing for my kids. Better than stickers even. And the pages automatically sync, so I can hide in my room while I add stuff to their lists on my laptop, and it will sync with their devices as they carry them around the house doing their jobs.
*tip: When you would like to create a check box for a selected item in OneNote, press Ctrl+1 or click on the Home tab on the top tool bar and then click To Do Tag. With the mobile app, just tap the little check box at the top. I have a special tab for the kid’s to do’s and a different page for each child’s list. You can even add subcategories in the list if you want to.
Second, I used photos for their list because they might not know how to read all the words. This can be done by selecting the insert tab in the top toolbar, then clicking online pictures, then entering a keyword to search in Office Clip Art to find a clip to symbolize that item on the list.
Last, I add the prize. I always tell my kids that when they are done with their jobs they can ________ (fill in the blank…play with friends, do the slip’n’slide, watch a movie, go swimming…etc.) to give them something to look forward to. I just put in a picture of whatever it is that they get to do that day when they finish their chores. It’s a small thing but it lessens the amount of energy I expend on nagging, and also prevents undue strain on my vocal cords…if you catch my drift.
The good news is that you can just uncheck the items on the list and use the same checklist the next day, plus it’s super easy to add something to the list for special days. Enjoy this new method of checklist making for your kids. If you have any other ideas for getting back on the routine wagon, please share.
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I’m a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I’ve also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.