The "Without Being Told" System

The "Without Being Told" System

When my older child started Kindergarten, I also had a 4 & 2 year old. My husband was off to work before school started, so all three kids had to be out the door in the morning to get the oldest to school on time. I found myself constantly repeating the same to do list. Every. Single. Morning.

“Have you brushed your teeth?”
“Is your bed made?”
“Are you dressed yet?"
“Is your backpack ready to go?”
“Have you gone potty?"

Most days, I’d ended up lecturing the little people, growing irritated and frantic as the ticking clock grew closer to being “tardy.” One day I realized I didn’t like the tone this set for the start of our days, but they weren’t remembering on their own, so I needed another way to remind them that didn’t involve mom being a broken record.

Those stressful mornings lead to the “Without Being Told” system. It is the first “system” I've implemented that has held for ANY duration (going on 4 years now). It’s very simple. Whatever we are working on doing “without being told,” goes on the chart. I merely took a piece construction paper, wrote their names and the numbers 1-10 with circles around them. I laminated them so they can use a dry-erase marker on it. Each kid earns a “tally mark" for doing it without being told. After 10 tallies, they earn a dollar. If I don't have cash on-hand when they earn the dollar, then I just keep a running total on the dry erase board in the kitchen of what they earned.

When I first introduced this, we had the following things we were working on:

  1. Make your bed
  2. Get dressed.
  3. Put your night clothes away.
  4. Open your mini-blinds or curtains.
  5. Turn off closet lights and sound machine.

Since then, we've worked on a myriad of other things: helping siblings, memorizing scripture, serving others, table manners, etc. They are so motivated to earn their tallies!

Hopefully you can find a use for something like this, or adapt it to best suit the needs of your home.

About the Author

Alison Treadaway married Marshall in 2005 and have three amazing kids: Parker, Callie, and Tucker. They are a family that loves Mexican food, the Aggies and all things outdoors. She leads The Nest (a gathering to encourage and equip moms as they raise the next generation of Christ-followers), facilitates a small group through Watermark’s Women’s Bible Study, and writes regularly for Watermark’s Family Ministry Blog. She partners with her husband shepherding community groups, and occasionally teaches at women’s groups and mom gatherings outside of Watermark.

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