The Chart That Has Added Years To My Life and Peace To My Home

By | Be Productive, Becoming A Patient Mother, Featured Posts | 25 Comments


Our Great Summer Chart

It’s about that time during the summer when the allure of long, lazy, free days has drowned beneath the sound of “I’m boooored!” And “she’s touching me!” “He’s looked at me funny!” Or “Mama! Make the girls stop dressing me up as a butler!”

Ok…maybe that’s just how it is at my house.

Somehow, after a few weeks of unscripted days, crazy things start to happen. Ever so slowly, chores they’ve done all year long are forgotten and I begin to to have to remind them. Often. Until one day I realize I’m practically nagging them to tidy their rooms, pick their stuff up or even brush their teeth in the morning.

Not wanting to be a nagging mom, I recently decided it was time to bring a bit more order to our days.

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 7.10.53 AM

The Chart

The idea I came up with is one I’ve used before, but I kicked it up a notch this time, so that I pretty much removed myself from the circle of reminding – and my kids (so far) are taking on the responsibility of doing what needs to be done AND helping each other get things done. (Not always as perfectly as it may sound…)

I made a full page spreadsheet, color coded, organized by time of day and complete with bubbles for every child to fill in after they have completed each activity.

I like to keep things light hearted and simple. Obviously.

I’m not really a Type A organized person, I am actually a lazy Type B who tries to automate anything unpleasant.

Fortunately, the kids LOVE the new chart. They have even added their own things to it and enjoy checking off all the tasks at the end of the day.

Note: If you read the chart, you saw something called a house hunt. I am not training my children in the real estate trade. A house hunt is when they take about 5 minutes and run around the house finding all. the. things. they have randomly left throughout the day.

The Special Sauce

The secret sauce that makes it all work well, isn’t just my children’s OCD love of filling in the little bubble or their competetive nature. I gave them an added incentive called Friday Funday.

Each Friday Funday we do something fun and special and only those who have completed their chart get to participate.

Now, at this point, I’m just trusting they’ll all be diligent and get their work done. If one of them can’t participate in Friday Funday, that will be a very sad day, but I’m sure a good lesson in responsibility.

This last Friday we went swimming (we hadn’t gone all week, so it was a treat), got ice cream cones and watched a movie.

This Friday there’s talk of making icecream and roller skating. They have as much fun dreaming up fun things to do as they do actually doing them.

And all week long, they are inspired to get their work done so that they can join in on Friday Funday.

Download the Printable

Here is a copy of my printable for you to edit as you need to for your family. Let me know if you have any trouble with the link! It is an excel file. If you don’t have excel and would rather just copy the list and create your own, here is the same form on Google Drive (but I don’t know if it will be downloadable for you.)

I hope you enjoy it and that it helps your summer run smoothly!

Join the Discussion

Are you needing some structure to your summer? What tips and tricks can you share with us? Do you have any questions about the chart?
Click here to leave a comment!

Don’t Miss This Today!

By | Becoming A Patient Mother | One Comment

If you haven’t already registered for the live webinar I’m hosting this afternoon and evening with TODAY show parenting expert and founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, Amy McCready, I hope you’ll take a minute to sign up now. It’s free! Make it a date night with your husband or an afternoon pep talk for the rest of your day.

A huge reason why I host these is simply because *I* love to attend them. Amy has such great practical ideas and tools that always make my days run more smoothly and my home a more peaceful place. Her topic for today’s sessions is, “Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.” Who doesn’t need that?!

I know you’ll learn a lot and be inspired, so don’t miss it!

Save Your Spot

We’ll have two sessions. The first is today at 2pm EST and the second is at 9pm EST. Join us!

Click here for more info and to reserve your spot. (FYI – the evening one is filling up fast, so RSVP soon if you’re wanting to attend that one.)

I look forward to chatting with you later today!

P.S. We just passed 14,000 subscribers to the Inspired To Action blog. Can I just say THANK YOU for being part of this community? It’s been such a joy getting to know you, journeying together through motherhood and mornings. I’m working on bringing you even more inspiring stories, deep community and very practical tools to help you be the rockstar mom you KNOW you are. I’m praying for all of you today. You have everything you need (2 Cor. 9:8), now go be awesome.

How To Be A Great Mom Next Week

By | Becoming A Patient Mother | 4 Comments

My Favorite Parenting Class

You don’t want to miss this! Twice a year (ish) I host a parenting webinar with TODAY Show contributor and parenting expert, Amy McCready. It never fails that the rest of the week, I feel like I rock this motherhood thing.

It’s amazing what a few simple communication and parenting tips and tools can do. And Amy has an arsenal of practical ideas. She actually has a whole course of them, and next Tuesday, she’ll be sharing a full hour of teaching with us.

Join Me?

The LIVE parenting training (free) will be next Tuesday (25th) at 2pm and 9pm EST. Click here to RSVP.

I’ve watched Amy’s sessions many times and I always walk away feeling inspired AND equipped to be a great mom. I love that!

You can sign up for one or both sessions. They’ll be on the same topic, “Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling”, but I promise you’ll get as much out of the watching the session a second time as you do the first. It’s really rich with wisdom.

How It Works

The webinar will feature Amy as she teaches us via video. You do not need a camera to watch it. Only Amy will be on camera, but you can join us in the conversation via the chat box on the web page. It’s always a really fun, interactive time.

Save Your Spot

I hope you’ll join me. The webinar is free but the spaces are limited, so be sure to RSVP by clicking here and then mark the event down on your calendar. (We often have husbands and wives join us, so feel free to invite your hubby to join you for an evening of learning!)

See you Tuesday! (Here’s the registration link.)

A Free Parenting Training Session Online Next Tuesday!

By | Becoming A Patient Mother | One Comment

Let’s Learn Together!

Mark your calendars, friends! Next Tuesday (5/8) at 10am and 9pm EST we are having another online “get together”!

Parenting expert and TODAY show contributor, Amy McCready, will share her wisdom and encouragement with us. I’ve hosted webinars with Amy for quite awhile and every single time I am incredibly inspired and envisioned as a mom. And I’m reminded of parenting techniques and ideas that make me SO much more patient and our home much more peaceful.

It’s an interactive session, so you’ll be able to ask her questions (via the text chat) about your specific situation. How cool is that?

Chat and Learn

If you were at our HelloMornings Live Chat earlier this week, you know how much fun these online “get togethers” can be. Amy is a professional, though, so her presentation will be much less quirky than our funny first little attempt a few days ago. And she probably won’t be quoting Yoda…

It will be such a great opportunity to get to know one another AND learn wonderful new parenting skills. I hope you’ll join me!

Is Time Out A Waste Of Time?

If you’ve attended one of the webinars I’ve done with Amy before, you might like to know she’s doing a new topic this time. It’s called, “Is Time Out A Waste of Time?”

Here’s what Amy has to say about the session:
What does it take to get your kids to listen?  Nagging? Reminding? Yelling? Time Outs?

If Time Out and other “tried and true” discipline strategies aren’t doing the job in your house – this session if for you!

Join us to learn easy to implement strategies to get kids to cooperate without the slightest hint of fussing, whining or complaining.

All you need is your computer. (No webcam required.)  You’ll see and hear Amy on your screen and you can even ask questions and she’ll make them part of the presentation.   Parents RAVE about this session.

RSVP today and then kick back and learn from the comfort of your home.

Webinar seating will be limited so RSVP now! I’ll look forward to welcoming you.

In the meantime, we’d love it if you could let your Facebook friends know about this exciting webinar – just click this link to share on Facebook.

About Amy McCready
Parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and a “recovering yeller.” She is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy reaches a worldwide audience with her Positive Parenting Solutions Online course and is a frequent guest on the TODAY Show and has also appeared on Rachael Ray, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, and elsewhere. In her most important role, she is mom to two teenage boys.

Join Me?

Free parenting training, doesn’t get much better than that, does it? Well, I hope you’ll join me at one of the two sessions (10am or 9pm EST) next Tuesday.

Click here to RSVP now.

See you Tuesday!

A Secret Weapon for Stressful Holiday Situations

By | Becoming A Patient Mother | 12 Comments

stress elf
photo credit

Note from Kat: This is a guest post from one of my dearest friends, Kellye. She does a lot to help with Hello Mornings (have you registered yet?). I hope you’ll make her feel welcome today!

Also? This picture TOTALLY cracked us up…

A Secret Weapon Against Holiday Stress

I love what Kat posted a while back about her secret weapon that allows us to walk in any occasion confidently. (Don’t you think she should really look into starting a blog of incredibly practical tips for moms or something some day?)

I thought I would share a secret weapon for stressful situations with you. And what better time of the year than the holidays!

I mean I’m sure your holidays are always full of moments where your children beg to dress up and smile and look at the camera to take Christmas photos. Or where your entire extended family joins hands and breaks out into spontaneous carol-singing when together. Or where Christmas baking and Christmas decorating always produces the Martha Stewart results you had in mind.

I, on the other hand, tend to get frustrated with events that don’t match the ideal in my head. And the really terrible part – it is beyond my control. But I seem to really like control.

For Me, Travel = Stress

This past summer, my family and I had traveled to a different state to visit family. For me, travel may as well be in the dictionary as the definition of stress. The trip had cost more than we wanted to spend on it. There was more tension amongst various family members than I was comfortable being around.

The time zone change left my already too-early-risers rising two hours earlier. The schedule of the extended family that we were expected to follow was the exact opposite of ours, so the kids were exhausted, waking all through the night, and very irritable. This left me feeling angry at those calling the shots on the daily activities. It was stressful.

My Breaking Point

Then there was this climatic moment where we were trying to keep the boys quiet in a hotel room early in the morning. They were on the other bed opposite me about the break out into a fist fight over angry birds and the ipad.

I did not feel patient. (Understatement of the year). I wanted to lecture. I wanted to cry. I wanted to bang my head against the wall. And then it was like all of sudden all the prayers I had prayed for patience and wisdom as a mom were answered in one realization.

I was angry because I was out of control. Really? Really.

The worst part of all the uncomfortable circumstances was that there was nothing I could do about them. I couldn’t fix them or change them.

This realization brought so much freedom to me. Because I know the truth.

The truth is that I have an ever faithful always trustworthy loving Father who has everything (EVERYTHING) under control. My job is so much easier than I act like on a daily basis.

The Simple Secret Weapon

So what’s the secret weapon? When I am headed into a potentially stressful situation or event, I’ve been taking some time beforehand to specifically ask the Lord what it is that is within my control. In the hotel room this summer, I knew the only thing I could really control was how I responded. I want to always choose to respond as the peace-bringing truth-speaking loving mother, wife, and friend.

I want to choose to respond as a woman who knows her place in the hands of God.

Action point: Are you feeling stressed? Make a list of the causes. Circle the items you can change, then make a plan. Pray over the things on your list and lay all of your burdens at the feet of God.

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Bedtime Woes – Help a Girl Out?

By | Becoming A Patient Mother, General | 64 Comments

(Note from Kat: My dear friend Katie is one of the new Inspired To Action monthly contributors. I hope you’ll help make her feel welcome today!)

Bedtime Woes

So, I’ve been feeling a bit stuck about bedtime around here.

My older two, who are six and almost four are loving the “I’m hungry/thirsty/not sleepy/anything-else-they-can-think-of-that-can-get-them-out-of-going-to-sleep” game. (Although, one of my favorites is Anna’s “I’m scary,” which is usually her legitimately being afraid—not just stalling.)

I feel as if I am continually having to choose between setting the limits or savoring the moments. I want to build good memories of our time together at bedtime, but at some point I have to draw the line or they would stay up all night.

Bedtime Photo Credit

We go from great conversations like this one, to the next night Kenneth calling me into his room to ask me (again) when Cars 2 is going to be available on DVD. (Yes, we finally got it!)

Then there are the nights when I am READY for them to be in bed. We skip story time; I streamline as much as I can so that I can just have few quiet, productive moments before my mind and body shut own from exhaustion. Then they come down the hall, asking for their 23rd snack of the night and I lose it; yell at them to stay in bed and threaten various punishments. It all usually ends in tears and frustration—including me—until they finally go to sleep.

I hate those nights.

I enjoyed this perspective on bedtime, shared earlier this month by Sally Clarkson over at I Take Joy. I long for bedtime to be a sweet part of our day, but most nights it feels unattainable.

Help a girl out?

I know I am not alone in this struggle.  So, mommas of littles, what do your bedtime routines look like?

Veteran moms, how did you handle this?

What are things you have found fruitful in keeping a firm bedtime routine – for your own sanity’s sake – yet living fully in each moment?

8 Verses to Inspire Us To Be Patient Mothers

By | Becoming A Patient Mother | 20 Comments

Dew Drop Wishes

When the baby is crying, the toddler is having a tantrum and your 6 year old can’t find his glove for his T-ball game you needed to be at 10 minutes ago, patience can be elusive.

Here are eight verses to memorize or write on notecards and post above your sink, in your car or in the bathroom – for those times when you lock yourself inside to regroup. Not that I’ve ever done that. Of course.

Psalm 86:15
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (NIV)

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (NKJV)

Proverbs 15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. (NIV)

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)

Colossians 3:12-13
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (NLT)

Hebrews 6:12
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (NIV)

James 1:19-20
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (NIV)

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)

May these verses inspire us to walk in ever increasing patience. If you need more inspiration, I loved this post by Ann Voskamp yesterday – “Why Is It So Hard To Be Patient?