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Teaching Responsibility: N’s DIY To-Do List

N started Grade One recently, and I’ve noticed that he has been quite disorganised. Every morning is a mad rush to get ready for school, and when he forgot his water-bottle a few days ago, I decided that it was time for him to get organised, and be more responsible.

I asked N to think about what he needs to do every morning/night, and to make his own To-Do List. He wanted to draw instead of write, so I let him be.

Drawing his To-Do List


After he was done drawing, we pasted the two sheets onto separate pieces of recycled cardboard (I used an old cereal box), and taped them onto two different cupboard doors. I put the morning list in the kitchen, and the night one in the bedroom, but I may move them to the same place if it makes more sense later. We then put pegs on the left side of the list, so that he can move them to the right after he has completed each item. He was quite excited about it, and quickly completed whatever he could for the night, just so he could move the pegs.

His Morning To-Do List


His Night To-Do List


The next morning, he kept having to look at his list to remember what else he had to do, but I think it’s a positive sign, since it showed that he was trying to be more responsible.

Moving his last peg


All done and ready to leave for school!


Of course, life would be a bit easier if I packed his water-bottle for him, and fed the fish on his behalf, but these are simple enough for him to do on his own, and C and I really want him to be more responsible.

I’m not sure if this enthusiasm will last, but I hope he will soon be able to get things done without referring to the lists! He’s been quite good about checking his lists in the mornings and evenings, and will try to complete the items on his own. I even found him reading in the bedroom quietly after dinner one evening, because it’s on his list. Hopefully he will be able to remember everything on his own without the lists soon, and then we can make new lists, since there are still quite a few items that he forgets to do. I think four/five items on each list is a good number, otherwise he might get frustrated that he has so many things to complete each time.

How do you teach your children to be responsible? Please do share your ideas with me! Thank you!

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