Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Teaching Time Management

If I had the whole day I could really take the time this post would need to 'do it right'. But I'm skipping over the hard stuff and I'll just tell you the basics. And I'm still not sure I'm going to push 'publish' on this post because I know that we all do this kind thing in our own way. Can I just start by saying that YOUR WAY FOR YOUR KIDS IS THE BEST WAY. Okay. I feel better.

I really have this blog for the remembering anyway so this is not a big 'why we do this' huge explanation of helping out around the house. Plus you already all have your own systems. No one needs a new one.

I just want to remember how we did this. Because I'm afraid of forgetting all the little things in our life along the way.

When Anna was eight we started her on a peg board. Abigail was a toddler so she didn't start until she was eight herself.

We moved from actual pegs (because they drove me crazy) to a sheet that gets put up on Saturday nights. Every week.

Some think of this as chores. I don't.

Really, deep down, our motivation for the "peg system" (as we still call it even though it's not pegs) is to teach the girls

How To Manage Their Time

Because we all have things to do. No matter what age/stage we're in.

We wanted to start young in teaching them that they can do fun things, have relaxing time at home, have play time at home, have nothing to do time at home, but there must be some time 'carved out' for getting a few things done.


So Scott and I broke it up into what we think are those areas that need attention/ need focus/ need to be emphasized right now in their lives. They are

1. Faith

2. Keeping your 'home' lovely (I'll try to explain more below but their little 'space' right now in life is their bedrooms. Yes, they have to help around the house in other areas but I want to teach my girls that their little space, their bedroom, will give them the discipline and skills to one day keep a home lovely. This is not about "clean your room"!!!! This is about making your room welcoming. Pretty to wake up to. Pretty to come home at the end of a long day to. Pretty to work in. Pretty to read in. Pretty to play in. Pretty to daydream in. (more on that later)

3. Learning

4. Zone (this is what you might think of as a 'chore')

5. Health

Once we figured out what we wanted to be the main goals we worked with the girls to decide the specific daily tasks to be continually working on those in our lives.

For example, faith right now consists of "God time". It can be reading their morning devotional. Working on memorizing scripture. Or praying the Rosary with me later in the afternoon. It is their choice. They will often go for the quickest route to getting that 'peg' which is reading their devotional while they eat breakfast.

For keeping your home lovely. They need to leave for the school day with their room looking "welcoming". Not perfect. But pretty. In the beginning they used to ask me, "is this welcoming enough?" And I would answer easily (in a way they could really decide for themselves) "can I take a picture of it and instagram it? Or is there something you'd want to tidy up first?"

A word on their rooms. Don't faint. I make their bed every single morning. Sorry. I don't care. I know they can. But I'm picky and I like it "just so". So I do it. And I will forever. Period. They are responsible for the rest though.

 And when I 'clean' their rooms (either it's a deep clean like spring or fall cleaning or light housework like dusting and vacuuming) I do it with them. It is important to me to teach them HOW to clean. So the "room welcoming" peg is not 'cleaning' it's more of tidying. But a tidy room is way easier to clean.

For Learning.  It's broken up into three specific daily tasks.  All three must be done to get their Learning Peg.  1.  Viola practice  2.  Reading  3.  Homework
If it's the weekend Anna always has some carry over homework to work on such as a long term project.  Right now (thank goodness) Abigail does not have weekend homework.  So her Learning Peg consists of 1. Viola 2.  Reading  3.  Math
For both of my girls, reading is a pleasure.  For Abigail math multiplication facts are awful.  It's only a few minutes but she needs to go through them every day with us.

Zone is the peg most like a chore.  It's the area in the house that they can best help out in.  Right now Anna has to restock all of the bathrooms with paper cups, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, etc.  Abigail chose to fold the small towels we have in the bathrooms for drying hands.  We go through a bunch a day.


A word about the Zone peg.  Do they have to help out other than that in the house?  Yes they do!  But there are no other chores written out.  They just have to happily, willingly help out with daily life. And when we ask, "please get mommy the broom and after I finish sweeping, will you be my helper and use the little dust pan to get it in the garbage while I start dinner?"  The answer needs to be sure or yes.  Like carrying their dish to the sink, cleaning up the playroom.  And all of the other things that make our home and little world go round.  They are helpful around the house.

Health Peg is one that keeps the Anna moving. She's not a sports kid but likes long walks and even simple exercise dvds or even ones she's found on her itouch.  She often wears a fit bit and tries to meet her goal during her school day through walking to school, having PE class and walking home.  It's fine with us.  As long as she's moving.  Abigail's Health peg is to remind her to practice Irish Dance in the playroom each night.  (new steps are hard and running through them quickly once a day has made all the difference for her)  In the past (and I'm sure in the future) she has had eating goals.  "I will take a bite of an apple today" kind of goals.  (With her EoE she has limited eating and needs to learn to eat the foods that she can eat)

What does all of this come down to?

1.  A peaceful mommy.  When it's all written out I feel better because we all have goals.
2.  Time for relaxing and time to play.  There is no nagging to do things with our peg system.  When they finish they can play and have fun.  They work dilligently and are rewarded with fun.
3.  Our money system is also tied into the pegs but that is another post for another day.
4.  Accontabliity.  (THIS IS THE BEST PART) Every single Saturday night or Sunday Scott and I sit down with one at a time to discuss how the week went.  We praise, praise, praise them for all that they did and we talk about strategies on weak areas.  We talk long term goals and short term goals for the next week.  It's nice to have that time with them and to reflect on how it's all going. (like this back here)

Will it change?  Yes, it changes a bit every week.  Before I print the new peg sheet there are usually some changes that we all decided on in our "meeting".  Our goals change, our tasks change but the for main focus areas (faith, keeping your home lovely, learning, and zone) will always be there.

I love this system that evolved over many years for us. (almost five years now)

I actually feel like this how to manage time/work system gives us MORE time to relax.  MORE time to play because it helps them to focus and be effecient with their time.  And that for us, is a good good thing.


  1. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom. You have given me much to think about.

  2. Accountability. I'm ALL for that! Great job, mama!


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