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MOMS TALK--Making a List and Checking it Twice

This piece it not about Gift Lists, it's about "Kiddy-Do" lists!

When my kids seem to have all the time in the world to sleep in, check and re-check Facebook, and "hang" with their pals, I sometimes find myself feeling bitter because my "to-do" list has swelled to twice the normal size this time of year. Why doesn't it occur to them to fold and put away their clothes, walk the dog, or vacuum the halls?

Then it hit me--this is my fault! The kids' default mode is to do what they want (Duh!) not what's in my ever-expanding mental picture of what needs to be done. My well-trained eyes see "to-do's" all over the inside and outside of my house. But experts say the frontal lobes of those under 25 can't keep up with our well-developed executive functioning.

Before I get mad, I need to do some planning. My husband and I need to make sure everyone has regular tasks with regular deadlines, or make special "to-do" lists to even out the workload. We've come up with the regular task assignment program before, but when we failed to follow up and reinforce the idea, performance waned. Finally, I'm starting to get the picture. It's worth the up front time it takes to get these new ideas up and running and make the new responsibilities the way we do things. And in our house it's best if we write this stuff down, to keep my husband and I on the same page.

Lists work well when we get around to doing them. This is likely because they come with the simple warning,"these items must be completed before you can do _____." We don't forget, because today's the day and the list is front and center.

As the new year approaches and we contemplate resolutions again, I'm putting the establishment of regular chores and timelines on my list. This time I'm sticking with it!

Carol Lewis Gullstad December 22, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Well said.I am a parent equally guilty of this "problem."

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