Good Habits

 Posted by on June 25, 2012  Add comments  Tagged with: , , ,
Jun 252012

My long-time readers know that every year I do a summer “project” with my children, but this year, instead of writing letters to pen pals, or keeping nature journals, or making scrapbooks, we’ve taken on a much bigger project.

We’re working on ourselves.

When I decided to reduce the amount of time I spent blogging, it was so that I could tend to what I considered to be areas of neglect in my life, and one of those areas was the training of my children. They’ve always had responsibilities in the home, but I’d become lax in policing them, and to be honest, I’d fallen into some bad habits myself. Too many days passed with unmade beds, unfolded laundry, and unopened mail. I’d allowed my housework routines, which had worked so well for me for so many years, to gradually slip away, because I spent too much time on my butt in front of the computer.

As my pastor reminded us on Father’s Day, it’s our responsibility to teach and train our children, and that requires time and effort. To that end, I decided that dwelling on our bad habits wasn’t the answer. Instead, because it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, I wanted to focus on creating some good ones, starting with daily bedmaking, because I think an unmade bed makes a room look very messy. To remind us of our goal, I posted this notice on the fridge, so everyone could keep track of their progress.

The girls and I take turns helping DJ make his bed.

It’s amazing how well this has worked. My husband has even gotten into the bedmaking habit- today he made our bed by himself, with no prompting from me! Our habit for next month is putting dishes in the dishwasher as soon as we’re finished with them. I’m hoping this will prevent the pileup of 37 drinking glasses on my kitchen counter every day, all summer long.

I also posted these notices near the entry doors of each room, as a reminder to everyone that they need to clean up after themselves.

This works well even for little kids, because even if they can’t read, they can find what doesn’t belong. My husband loves this because he can just say to Cakes, “This room doesn’t match the picture. How come?” and she runs right in and picks up her clothes off the floor, or hangs up her towel. It’s so much nicer than yelling, “Were you kids born in a BARN?!” which was my old method of correcting them.

In addition, I made this, framed it, and hung it in our main entry hall:

Below it, I posted our family rules,

along with the children’s laminated, reusable chore charts, and I velcroed a washable marker to the wall so they can check off their chores as they complete them.

Cakie’s chore chart

These changes have inspired all of us, not just the kids, to be diligent in doing our part for the common good, and our house shows it! It’s consistently cleaner, neater, and more orderly, and I spend less time griping and complaining to the kids about being slobs, and more time just enjoying them.

Like Our Family Rules? Download them here for free!


  23 Responses to “Good Habits”

  1. I love the idea of posting the photo of what the room should look like. I think this will be very helpful for our 4 year old who can’t read, but is great at interpreting pictures! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. I love your idea of posting a photo on the door of how the room should look.  I am going to have to use that one here.

  3. Love your blog! do you have your Family rules as a printable?


  5. Hello!  I absolutely love the idea of posting the picture!  I might do this more for my husband and myself than anyone else… hahaha.  I also love the 21 day checklist.  I’ve never thought to confine a checklist to 21 days, and make developing the habit itself an accomplishment.  GREAT idea in this post.

    Now I just need to get my rooms clean enouggh to take the pictures!  Haha!

  6. Your blog readers miss you, but I’m glad to hear you guys are working on yourselves. 

  7. Great Ideas I love reading your blog you are very inspiring.  I was hoping you could let us know what is on DJ’s chore chart.  So I can get some ideas for my son.  Thanks

  8. As I read this post, I thought of how Mary Anne and I need to develop good habits as well.  Thanks for a great idea Heather!

  9. Such a good idea to put up a picture of the room.  I think I’ll try this for the toy area and see how that works.  Thanks for the inspiration.  And I am so glad you are redeeming your time with the kids (and other areas, I’m sure!).  Even better inspiration!

  10. Love the family rules, I’m going to use it for sure. I’m happy you’re enjoying the family time and having these ideas to share with us.

  11. awww…your Mother’s Day picture is precious. I like how your husbands corrected Cakes by gently asking “What doesn’t match here.” LOVE THAT! 

  12. I loove this!  I want to use it with my class, my fiance, my rabbit… Thank you!

  13. Great post, as usual!  One question– what are the consequences for breaking a family rule?  Does it vary according to the infraction?  Just curious about how you handle it.  Thanks!

  14. I love this post! I keep finding the house work piling up on me and seems like all i do is clean! I even have my weekly schedule but with a 8 month old things have been crazy for a while. can you post the link for the chore chart. i have been looking for something like that for my almost 5 year old.

  15. Thank you for sharing these. I often have the ideas to put together charts I never have the follow through. Now I simply need to print! I commend you for unplugging. I have gotten into the habit of reading too many blogs about mothering and homemaking, but am now reading instead of doing! Time for me to unplug too!

  16. Nice ideas! Kids do seem to do better with visuals.

  17. Love it!  You have inspired me to come up with our own list of family rules!  This summer I have been giving much thought to the way I’m parenting my children and the need to establish a clear list of rules and chores for them.  You would think with five kids I would have done this long ago!  Thank you so very much for all of your useful information!

  18. I love the chore charts.  How did you make those?

  19.  Nice post,those who are less fertile or have infertility problem can change some of the habits of day today life and gain fertility again and can be mother again.

  20. Heather, you always seem to pick topics that hit so close to home.  Thank you for this topic, I struggle with this all the time and have made a few chore chart variations, but haven’t been able to find the one that works for us yet, hopefully yours will be that.  Also, as another reader asked, what consequences do you use for breaking the rules or not getting all their chores done.  I haven’t had luck finding specific information on this topic and without consequences our house falls into chaos again and again.  I would love to hear how your family deals with this area.  Love your blog! Rebecca

  21. Hey there – long time reader, first time commenter. 🙂
    I just wanted to let you know I made a little poster for my 3 children with a picture of their clean room and that is the best thing since sliced bread! I love it and my 3 year old understands what I want her to do now and the older boys (10 and 7) finally get what mommy has been saying all along! It’s really a miracle! 🙂
    Thank you for your blog, you’ve given me awesome ideas that are really useful in real life. Thanks!

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