Do Your Kids Know What to Do? Then Stop Reminding Them!

By Joey and Carla Link

February 8, 2023

“Michelle, it’s almost time to leave for school. Here’s your backpack, put it by the door so you don’t forget it again. Where’s that note I need to sign for your teacher?”

 “Henry, don’t forget to take the trash out after dinner.” “Emma, did you make your bed before you came down for breakfast?” “Sam, have you fed the dog yet?”

How many times do you remind your kids every day to get their stuff done and keep track of their things? Do you think your kids can’t remember on their own, or do they not remember because they don’t want to?

We are often asked questions such as, “Can I expect my 7 year-old to remember to make his bed? “Why doesn’t my 12 year-old get his homework done without me hounding him?” “If I tell my 5 year-old to go upstairs and pick up her toys, why can’t she remember to get them cleaned up when she gets to her room?”

It isn’t that your kids don’t want to remember. They don’t remember to get their stuff done because they don’t have to. Why is that? Because you are perfectly willing to do their remembering for them by constantly reminding them.

What should you do instead of reminding your kids?

1.  Let them fail. They don’t get their homework done? They go to school without it.

2.  Give your kids consequences when they don’t remember to get things done. We can already hear many of you thinking, “Consequences don’t work.” For consequences to work they must be painful. Trust us; taking away their phone for an hour is not painful. Taking it away for a week is.

3. Take away what they misused. Think outside the box. They spoke to you disrespectfully? Take away their freedom to talk. 

Caleb doesn’t get his homework done? Let his teacher deal with it. Or, if you homeschool he loses the privilege of doing anything else until it is. Our kids schooled until bedtime while their siblings were having fun. They schooled all day Saturday after their chores were finished and Sunday after church. They learned to keep up with their schoolwork. When Evan forgets the shoes he needs for basketball practice? He sits practice out. If that means he doesn’t get to play in the next game, he can figure out how to make that up to the coach.

4. Praise and encourage them when they get their stuff done with no reminders. When praise and encouragement are used effectively, they do wonders in the life of your child.

Reminding is a habit that is hard for moms to break, but you can do it! Stop reminding and your children will start remembering!