Habit Training for Children Using Visual Aids

From Our House to Yours

Habit Training for Children Using Visual Aids

Charlotte Mason was an advocate of training children to have good habits in all areas of life, including personal hygiene. I have tried to train our sons to have good habits in this area from a young age. Rather than sporadically asking whether they have done something or not, I have found it is better to have a more planned way of checking this. I have also found it is helpful to have a visual, printed reminder of the habits expected. This way, I know there is no confusion what habits are expected. Likewise, I can have different expectations for good habits based on each child’s age. Below, you can see one of my first charts for our sons when they were little. I laminated the chart and posted it in the boys’ bathroom. They checked it off each day with a dry erase marker. The pictures really helped!

A Tear-Off Pad for Personal Hygiene and for Chores

One year, I made a tear-off pad of colored notes for our sons’ habits of personal hygiene. I also added their chores to the list. Each son had his own pad of paper to check off, with his own age appropriate hygiene and chore habits. I took the pads of paper to a local office store and had them compile them like sticky-note tear-off pads. I gave each son a pad with a different color of paper. Each day, I had them check off their tasks as they were completed. When their tasks were done, they tore off their papers and handed them in on the counter before breakfast. I loved not talking about these things every day! It was easy for me to see if they had completed their tasks or not. Either their paper was on the counter, or it wasn’t!

Charts to Encourage the Habits of Good Personal Hygiene and Picked-Up Bedrooms

As our children grow, I found I wanted to encourage them in other habits, like keeping their rooms picked up. Little ones can just begin with putting their toys in a basket in their room. They can also be taught to pull their blankets on their bed up and smooth them. These little things make a big difference in how picked up a room looks! As children get older, they need to take on more responsibilities for keep their rooms neat. If they are sharing a room, I have found this habit of picking up even more important to teach! Invariably it seems one child is neat, and the other is not. Sharing a bedroom can be a real source of frustration! Below you will see one of the charts I used to encourage both good personal hygiene and picked-up bedrooms.

Charts on the Fridge with Magnets 

One year, I posted charts on our fridge.  I included personal hygiene, chores, and bedroom clean-up habits. All of the magnets were placed on the right “DO” column before I went to bed. Then, the next morning as the boys completed their tasks, they moved their magnets from the right “DO”column to the left “DONE” column. They enjoyed the magnets, and I liked being able to see at a quick glance what still needed to be done. Now that our sons are older, I just have a quick chart we use. Some days I use the chart, but many days our sons take turns grabbing the chart and being the checker. I think all the previous years of visual charts for personal hygiene, chores, and room clean-up have made this task super easy!  Hope one of these ideas can help you instill the habits you want to in your children!

In Christ,


A Quick List to Check Chores, Personal Health, and Rooms

From Our House to Yours

A Quick List to Check Chores, Personal Health, and Rooms

I find the biggest obstacles to beginning our Heart of Dakota school day on time often have nothing to do with homeschooling. If the dishwasher is full, the trash is overflowing, or the dogs still need to be fed, I just can’t teach. Likewise, I find it difficult to homeschool if our sons haven’t had time to groom properly. Finally, I find if we don’t have our bedrooms in order fairly early in the day, they may never right themselves. Using a ‘quick list’ is an effective way to check chores, personal health habits, and rooms. I will be sharing how to make a quick list in this blog. Once this quick list is made, I hang one on the fridge, set another copy on the kitchen table, and give another copy to any child who wants one.

A Quick List to Check Chores

There are some chores that truly need to be done early in the day. This is either because they need to be done first thing or because they need to be done so I can stay sane.  I think what these chores may be varies from home to home, so my list might not be your list. However, if you want to know what chores matter in your home, just pay attention. What chores do you find yourself doing or telling your children to do each morning? Or, what things do your eyes light upon that weigh you down the most? These are the things that need to make it on your chores’ list. On my quick chore list, each son has assigned chores each day. I make sure to take time to train each of them to do their chores well, and then they are responsible for doing them.

A Quick List to Check Personal Health Habits

I have found there are some personal health habits that truly need to be done early in the day. This is either because timing-wise they need to be done first thing or because they need to be done so I can stay sane. For example, I find our tweens/teens need to have enough time to shower, shave, etc. Likewise, I want each of them to have a Bible Quiet Time (which is part of their HOD guides anyway), to use the traction bar/wobble cushion for healthy spines, and to try to drink water throughout the day. I think what these personal habits may be varies from home to home, but just pay attention to what you find yourself (in frustration) reminding your children to do each day. These are the things that need to make it on your personal health habits’ quick list.

A Quick List to Check Rooms

I have found there are some basic guidelines that truly need to be followed each day to keep our bedrooms picked up. If we don’t do these fairly early in the day, they just don’t ever seem to get done. I want there to be a balance of enjoying using our rooms throughout the day and of keeping them fairly neat. Rather than a spotless room, I like to aim for a picked up room. Actual cleaning (i.e. dusting, vacuuming, etc.) of our rooms takes place on the weekends as we are able. I only put things on the quick list for checking rooms that visually help the room look fairly neat and put together. They are not all that complicated, but they matter to me in the overall visual look of the room, as I walk by the rooms throughout the homeschool day.

So, what makes the quick list so effective?

Three things help make the quick list effective. First, the list needs to fit on one paper. If the list is several pages long, it can’t be seen at-a-glance. It also takes too long to get done efficiently prior to homeschooling. Second, the list needs to be read aloud and checked each weekday. I do this simply by taking the list and reading aloud each thing, asking if they did them. For the room checks, I go upstairs and glance in their rooms as I ask them. If something isn’t done, they do it right away. Third, there needs to be some incentive. I give them a small allowance each week they can spend on anything (i.e. $3, $2, and $1 each respectively, from oldest to youngest). I hope this gives you some ideas about how you can create and customize your own habits’ quick lists!

In Christ,




Morning Chores and Breakfast

From Our House to Yours

A ‘Day in the Life’ of RTR and WH – Morning Chores and Breakfast

In this Heart of Dakota series, we continue describing a ‘day in the life’ of using Resurrection to Reformation (RTR) and World History (WH). So far, I’ve shared our take on homework, as well as our waking up to homeschool routine.  Today, I will share about our morning chores and our breakfast  menu.

Morning Chores

There is much that must be done to keep a home running smoothly! Homeschooling means we use our home more, which means more upkeep. I believe there are two primary reasons for morning chores. First, I need help. Second, I want my sons to be prepared to own and help care for their own home someday.  My oldest son feeds, waters, and exercises the dogs. He also gets the mail, clears the snow, and sets the trash at the end of the driveway for the garbage truck. My youngest starts our morning praise music, unloads the dishwasher, and sets the table. He then joins my oldest son outside by feeding our cat. My middle son consolidates all the trash bags into one bag and takes it out. He then fills the Keurig with water, sets out our vitamins, and makes a family smoothie.

Making Morning Chores a Happy Affair

The words ‘happy’ and ‘chores’ may not seem to go together!  However, we have found chores actually can be a happy affair! First, we all enjoy listening to the Christian praise music on our playlists. Many of the songs we know from our local Christian radio station KNWC. Other songs we know are sung in our church. Because we all choose songs for our playlist, everyone has favorites they look forward to hearing. Second, I don’t mind a little creativity in chores. Wyatt shoots basketball hoops while the dogs run around outside. Emmett rides his 3-wheeler to feed our cat Sweetie Pie, and he lights a different candle each day while setting the table. Riley makes all sorts of surprise flavors of smoothies, from pumpkin pie to pineapple mango, and from chocolate peanut butter to berry. Overall, chores are a happy affair!

Breakfast Menu

Though our breakfast has changed through the years, we have always had a planned menu. This helps so much!  I can get up each morning and know what I am making. When I make a grocery list, it is easy because I have a plan. As a mother of all boys, I know how much they look forward to home cooked meals. I hang the menu on the fridge for all to see. Since I like a little choice in what I make, I list 4 or 5 breakfast options each day. I just choose in the morning which one I feel like making and cross it off. When I’ve made everything in about a month, I hang a new menu. The “*” notes something that is made every time to accompany the breakfast, which is the family smoothie.

Berries & Oatmeal

Peaches & Oatmeal

Bananas & Oatmeal

Apples & Oatmeal

Craisins & Nuts Oatmeal

Cinnamon Rolls

Pop Tarts

Granola Bars & Apples

Frozen waffles or pancakes

*Family Smoothie

Ham/cheese egg bake, bacon, toast

Scrambled cheesy eggs, bacon, toast

Fried eggs & French toast

Fruit Popover & Fried eggs

Pear Pancake & Scrambled Eggs

Cereal & Toast

Schwan’s Donuts

Eggo Waffle/Nutella

Pumpkin, Blueberry, OR Chocolate Chip Pancakes

*Family Smoothie


Danish Rolls

Coffee Cake

Apple Pie Coffee Cake

Sheet pancakes

*Family Smoothie

Try making your own chore chart and breakfast menu!  See if you like it!

In Christ,