Get Your Kids Out the Door for School Without the Yelling

by Jennie on November 6, 2014

This is my first child in Kindergarten so it was an adjustment to say the least. Gone are the days we can all go out for the day at the Zoo or an outing without having to be anywhere. Thankfully, our bus pickup ended up being afternoon Kindy for us… I am happy to put off those early morning rushes to the bus as LONG as possible! 

These days I will still plan little outings in the morning here and there, I can run a few errands or we just have a nice relaxing morning at home before it’s time for the rush to the bus! My parenting style is geared more towards teaching independence as early as possible. When they are old enough to start putting on their own shoes or putting on those pants, I have them start practicing that. I learned this when Cody was a newborn at a parenting class and it made all the sense in the world to me and it just fit with my beliefs. With that being said, I made sure Cody had his back pack, shoes, socks etc. ready for his two years of preschool. Now that he was in Kindy it was HIS responsibility to do that. I would tell him up to two times the things he needed to be doing to get ready to go out to the bus and there were days he forgot things he needed or we would be running to the bus, late, but I believed he had to learn about responsibility. 

After weeks of nagging him and frustrations, it all came to a head when he didn’t even have his shoes on at the bus stop when the bus came!! After that day, he had learned his lesson. He didn’t want to be late and he started wanting to get ready for school when I told him it was time, rather than continue playing. Cody actually suggested that we do a picture check list of what he had to do so that he could mark them off the list as he does them. His teacher has picture checklists in class for them and he seems to respond really well to it so I figured why not?! 

Now, let me preface this with mama has NO crafty bone or artistic ability in her body so I did the best I could! (I am sure someone has already created printables for these or sell them on Etsy!) I went to google images, pulled up clip art of the things he needed to get done and pasted them onto a blank word document. Once printed, I drew lines in between each item to create squares and then laminated it (you can use dry erase markers on laminated papers and then they can just erase and reuse!). 

Now it hangs on our fridge and all I have to say is “Cody, it is time to do your checklist” and he gets started. He likes the independence and showing me when it is all checked off. You can see how proud he is of himself and I rarely have to nag or yell anymore. 

picture checklist

Hey I know, it’s novice, BUT it works for us and only took me 5 minutes to make.
I even let Cody pick out the pictures he wanted for the checklist so he was as involved as possible.

Some tips and tricks:

  • I have him do his checklist while I make lunch and I make sure to keep an eye out on him while he completes it. That way I can give him subtle reminders if I see him getting distracted. 
  • You can make a different checklist for each child depending on their needs. 
  • When you are just beginning you could complete each task with your child and help them check it off until they get into the routine of doing it independently. 
  • Find something they like to do that you can entice them with upon completion. Cody knows that if he can complete his checklist and eat lunch with time to spare he can play outside with his brother which is motivation enough for him to get er done! 

Overall, the lessons we have both learned over the last few months have been invaluable! I have loved seeing Cody grow as a person this year and learning things about myself too! Hope this helps you from nagging and yelling at your kids before school! I know I was at my breaking point and things are SO much more peaceful and easy now that we have been through our “growing pains” and have adopted the picture checklist :) 

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