Wednesday, May 11, 2011

31 Days Closer to Your Kids: Set Expectations

Shelly Final

When my girls started elementary school, they knew my expectation: when they left the house for school their bed should be made and their room should be picked up. This required them to leave a few extra minutes each morning to do a “room check” before they left the house.

Is that a harsh expectation? Some of my friends think so. Should everyone expect the same thing of their children? I don’t know—I don’t have to parent your kids. I only have to parent mine, and part of that job is setting expectations that I think are important for my kids and for our family.

I’m not going to go into why I set that expectation for my girls in this post. The point is, I set the expectation by giving my daughters a responsibility, and I also expected them to obey by following through.

This one might seem a little strange. You’re probably thinking How will I connect better with my kids if I set expectations for them?

Here’s how. By setting expectations, your kids know exactly what you want from them. They can find a place of safety and security in knowing that they are living within the boundaries that you’ve set for them.

(They also should know the consequences of not meeting your expectations—think this one through carefully!).

Setting expectations allows our kids to achieve goals, even small ones like making their bed, which leads to a sense of satisfaction. In the end, you’re doing your child a favor by setting expectations for her. You’re teaching your child how to become an adult . . . a productive citizen. And you’re giving yourself an opportunity to praise your child for a job well done.

So what is one thing you expect of your child? What would you like to see your child follow through on? Talk to him or her about your goals today.

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Remember to check out the other posts in the "31 Days Closer . . ." series:

Sandy at The Amazing Adventures of the Fitness Friday Girl - "31 Days Closer to Health, Wellness, and Bathing Suit Season"
Melanie at Bella~Mella - "31 Days Closer to a Cuter You"
Jen at Finding Heaven - "31 Days Closer to Hearing God's Voice"
Lisa at Glad Chatter - "31 Days Closer to the Life You Always Wanted"
Missy at It's Almost Naptime - "31 Days Closer to a New Home"



  1. Maybe I'm not the best judge - as a mom to a 3yo and not older kids - but that does not sound harsh to me at all! I think setting expectations makes a world of difference in kids - and that is something I've learned even in that 3yo!

  2. Doesn't sound harsh to me. I don't expect the kids to make their beds just because I don't have to see it. But they are expected to do their chores without being told by a certain time of the day.
    Sometimes people are amazed my kids can clean, make thier own lunches, and do their own laundry!

  3. You are so smart! I agree with setting expectations for our kids. I probably have slacked on that at times, been more diligent at others. But you're dead on with those benefits. We had to sit Abby down during Christmas break and get back on track with some expectations. She had really let some things slide. And strangely enough ( or not) she really ended up appreciating the renewed expectations.

  4. Hmmm. Yes, interesting that we do these on the same day. But, I think the difference is that yours is more about setting healthy boundaries and being functional, where as mine is more about having expectations that perhaps I shouldn't. I agree with you that kids definitely need boundaries and we all have jobs to do!

  5. You are doing a great job on this series, Shelly. It is really practical.