Checklists to Keep Kids on Task and Get Out the Door

Morning and Afternoon Checklists for kids

I don’t know about you, but we have the hardest time getting everyone out the door in the morning. Even if it’s just me, I have a hard time, but when you add kids, it feels like an uphill battle in a hurricane to get the kids out the door with everything they need for school (or wherever we are going).

Do any of these sound familiar to you? 

“Put your shoes on.”

“Where did you take them off?”

“Don’t just stand there looking around. You actually need to look for them. Did you look in your room? Are they downstairs? You need to look under things, too!”

“Do you have your backpack?”

“Did you brush your hair?”

“Sign something?! We need to go!!”

These things don’t really make mornings very pleasant. Not the best way to start the day, right?

So to help make the mornings go smoother and to teach the kids some responsibility, I made a “Good Morning Checklist” and a “Good Afternoon Checklist.”


I had the kids give input and I put them on the back of the door. The kids know that they need to go down the checklist.

Now you might hear, “Did you do everything on the checklist?”

We’ve had these up for 4 months or so, and it has helped a lot. I’m not saying that shoes are always where they are supposed to be in the morning, or that our mornings are always lovely now, but there is improvement!

The afternoon checklist helps set things up to make the morning checklist a success.

Good Afternoon Checklist

I think every so often we should do some tweaks and revisions.

My school-aged kids are 6 and 8. If you were trying this with a younger child, you might want to simplify it and add pictures.

Today I’m sharing something that’s working, but I just have to tell you that lots of things that were previously decluttered and organized around here are a total disaster. Including the kitchen island. More on that later, hopefully with some before and after pictures!

Do you like checklists? Do you have any other ideas for teaching kids responsibility and getting out the door on time? I’d love to hear it!

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Filed under Kids, Time Management

14 Responses to Checklists to Keep Kids on Task and Get Out the Door

  1. Jen S.

    Great checklists Elizabeth! I have been keeping a similar one in my head, but that does not work so well when you want them to be independent. I had been contemplating lists for each child, but that seemed a bit too much-I like the one list that covers it all!

  2. Melissa Gillispie

    See I do need this —-I have forgoten my computer several times this year at home.

  3. Abigail

    I love how you have the positive spin on it with ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Good Afternoon’ as opposed to ‘You’d better have this done before even THINKING of asking me List.’


  4. This is a great checklist and even better because you let your children participate in creating it. There were many things that drove me nuts getting my children out the door when little but I have to say shoes wasn’t one of them. Living in the country, shoes are very dirty very fast so all shoes had to come off at the door and placed where they belonged on the shoe rack provided, although I dislike shoes on in the house at any time. The hardest thing for me was getting my oldest to move. I would walk by him and announce “socks”, as he would be holding them while looking like he had no idea what to do with them, or “eat” as he sat and stared at his breakfast. Because of that we did most things at night for my sanity.

    • Elizabeth

      Oh, we have one that has a hard time moving in the morning as well! I wonder if it’s too early to start them on coffee? Kidding, of course. 😉

  5. Ah, the lost shoes. Glad that conversation happens somewhere besides here. I don’t use checklists (my oldest is actually a morning person and pretty good about having things done in the morning) but I do use a timer to keep everyone including myself on track. I may have to put some thought into a checklist for this summer though to give us a bit of a routine.

    • Elizabeth

      Jean, I just have to tell you that you have been doing such a great job over there on your blog! I need to hang out over there more!

  6. Checklists are wonderful! After a couple of years of trying to make sure the animals were cared for properly, I finally made a list of every tiny step of doing chores, and had the boys check off the jobs every evening for a few weeks. Result? After a few weeks, chores being done properly became a habit and I no longer had to think about it. Next was a breakdown of cleaning up the kitchen after meals–soon it was being done properly and the kitchen was in much better shape. The best thing about checklists is that Mom doesn’t have to nag–just send them to the list.

  7. Mairsydoats

    Kids, schmids! I made a checklist FOR MYSELF, and it’s made mornings about a bazillion times easier. I don’t focus all that well in the mornings, so having the list to remind me to put on sunscreen before makeup or getting dressed means that the sunscreen is actually getting worn! And fewer things just out-and-out forgotten or skimped.

    Big post-it on my bathroom mirror… 🙂

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