Sep 202013
 

checklistRoutines are a life raft for me in the chaotic world of parenting.  I’ve created a routine checklist for my daughter’s before school, after school and after dinner tasks, and the link for it is at the bottom of this post if you’d like to download it and customize it.

Before using a checklist, I found that my relationship with my preschool-aged daughter involved a lot of me telling her what to do“Unpack your backpack.  I said, unpack your backpack.  Now we’re going to eat a snack.  No, you can’t play yet, it’s time for shower.”  Once she was in Kindergarten I felt like she was ready to start helping around the house with chores.  But in order to get her to complete all her tasks, I had to constantly nag her: “Don’t forget about your cleaning chores… did you feed the cat yet? Now set the table.  I said, set the table. Your backpack is still waiting to be unpacked, do that before you take a shower…” It seemed like every afternoon devolved into an exchange of accusatory looks and frustrated outbursts on both our parts.  My goals were reasonable: I wanted teach my daughter to take responsibility for her tasks, but my strategy (constant reminders) was making us both miserable.

Enter the routine checklist, which we started using when she was four and a half.  I worked on the list together, so that she could take ownership of it.  With the checklist, my daughter knows what is expected of her, and can monitor her progress by checking off the boxes next to each task.  (Each task has an icon next to it so that children can use the checklist even if they don’t know how to read.  For instance, “Pack backpack” has a picture of a backpack next to it.) If I see that she’s gotten off track, I remind her to look at her checklist.  Instead of a ordering her around, I just say, “What’s next on your checklist?”

Now, I won’t lie, the routine checklist hasn’t solved all of our battles.  She’s in first grade now, and in the morning tends to be s-l-o-w to complete each task when getting ready for school, and the checklist hasn’t made any difference there. And in the afternoons she’s not that interested in doing chores, so I do get my fair share of eye-rolling sent my way, not to mention the dramatic slump-shouldered walks as she drags herself from one task to the next, glancing over at me to make sure I’m witnessing her misery.  But I do feel like using routine checklists has made a difference in my relationship with my daughter, because our arguments (and there are still many!) are more about the fact that she doesn’t want to complete her tasks, and not so much about her being angry at me for ordering her around. And don’t we all get frustrated with our list of to-do’s from time to time?  She’s learning that life is challenging because we all have tasks of some sort that we need to complete each day, but she’s also learning that she can get through it if she makes a list and works through it step-by-step.

The downloadable checklist is in Microsoft Word so that you can easily customize it to fit your own routines and expectations.  If you have trouble opening or editing the document, leave a comment on this post and I’ll do my best to help you (note that for some reason weird formatting can result from opening the document in read-only mode: to remedy this, select “Edit” or “Print” and you’ll get the original formatting).

Free Downloadable Daily Routines Checklist for Children:

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Jan 132013
 

2013 Calendar by MeinLilaParkThere are lots of great free printable 2013 calendars available right now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of electronic calendars, like the Google Calendar that I use for my weekly and monthly calendars, but there’s no question that actual, paper calendars are really handy as well. Every year I print out a 1-page yearly calendar to put near my desk, as well as a 12-page monthly calendar for my daughter to use.

MeinLilaPark has compiled a list of over 50 free printable calendars, including 12 month calendars, 1-page yearly calendars, mini calendars, and more.  Here are some of the best free printable 2013 calendars out there (and check out MeinLilaPark for more):

12 Month 2013 Calendars (12 pages)

If you’re a fan of cutesy teddy bears, GraphicGarden offers this one:

If you’re more into country charm, GraphicGarden‘s got you covered:

If you’re looking for something simple, try this one from Botanical Paperworks:

And here’s a cute calendar for kids from HelloCuteness:

2013 Yearly Calendars

Here’s a vintage illustration on a simple yearly calendar from CallMeVictorian:

Here’s a more whimsical one from MeinLilaPark:

Or, you can keep it simple with this one from BelievingBoldly:

2013 Mini Monthly Calendars

The illustrations on this mini calendar from Creative Mama are too cute:

Or if you’re into something more edgy, try this one from Smam (the download buttons are the “1,2,3″ links at the bottom of the text):

Jun 132012
 

Looking for a heartfelt, low-cost gift for Father’s Day?  Make a coupon book for the special dad in your life!  The coupon book itself is free to make, and you can decide whether the coupons inside are no-cost (“1 Free Hug,” “1 Game Chess”), or low cost (“1 Dozen Homemade Cookies,” “1 Matinee Movie”).

The coupon books pictured above are made from my favorite coupon book template, because you can actually type in your coupons into a form on the Activities for Kids website, and it will generate a custom coupon book for you to print. Tips and instructions for using the form are here.

Alternatively, BeautyandBedlam created a Father’s Day Coupon Book that you can print out and then fill in, and it comes with many ideas pre-printed:

Or, you can make a coupon book from scratch.  It might not be as polished as the ones above (in fact, depending on the age of the kid creating it, it could be a complete mess), BUT it is sure to be treasured by the father who receives it.  WaywardGirlsCrafts gives a tutorial for making a coupon book like the one below:

Crafty Thursdays are an ongoing feature of The Daily Citron.  I picked Thursday because it leaves just enough time for busy parents to collect their supplies for doing the craft with their kids over the weekend.

May 242012
 

Two weeks ago I featured a printable teacher thank you card and it was so popular that I found five more for you to choose from.  They’re all free, and they’re all very cute.

This one by Disney’s FamilyFun Magazine is very sweet:

Here’s a cute apple-themed card by TomKatStudio:

 

This one’s nice because it includes a printable envelope design too (which is pictured- the actual thank you notes, which is a cute lined paper w/apple and pencil design, is not pictured but is included in the download).  It’s also from Disney’s FamilyFun Magazine:

Do-It-Yourself-Invitations provides 5 different designs for printable thank you cards and matching envelopes.  They don’t have a specific teacher theme, but any would be appropriate to give to a teacher.  Here’s one example:

And if you plan on giving your child’s teacher a gift card, you can print out a gift card holder, like this one from ThoseCraftySisters.  They have 9 designs to choose from, including this apple design, a baseball design, and a blank one for kids to decorate themselves:

Hope you enjoy these printable thank you cards for teachers!  Let me know if you find some other good ones.

Crafty Thursdays are an ongoing feature of The Daily Citron.  I picked Thursday because it leaves just enough time for busy parents to collect their supplies for doing the craft with their kids over the weekend.

May 222012
 

In Part I of this travel packing list series, I gave you a general packing list for travel so that you’d remember to pack your clothes, shoes, etc.  Here in Part II I’m providing a free downloadable “Toiletry Checklist,” which is a customizable packing checklist for all of your beauty and hygiene items (razor, tweezers, make-up, sunscreen, etc.).  The likelihood of forgetting to pack at least one beauty or hygiene item is pretty high- and that means you might end up buying replacements at the hotel gift shop at ridiculously prices.   And it never feels good to spend your traveling “fun money” on things you already own at home. So print out one of these toiletry checklists for each family member, and ask them to check off each item as they pack it.

Stay tuned for Part III, where I’ll provide a travel checklist for kids, and Part IV, where I’ll cover road trip checklists.

All downloads are free to subscribers of the free Daily Citron Weekly Newsletter. Enter your email below to confirm you are a subscriber or to be added to the subscriber list. Once you enter your email the download link will appear below in orange. Your email is never shared and you can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.

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