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“Handy-work,” Ensign, Jan. 1984, 67


Is your bed made?” “Have you brushed your teeth?” “Comb your hair! Are you tired of the constant reminding? Help your child remember to fulfill his responsibilities with a simple system using his fingers.

First, teach the child a sequence of key words or phrases, one for each finger, that represent tasks he needs to do in sequence every day. The sequence we use is (1) hands and face, (2) teeth and hair, (3) dressed, including shoes and socks, (4) bed, including rooms, (5) toys (or for older children, morning chore).

Use the same set of words for all the children. The key word can be attached to added responsibility as the child matures, but don’t change the key words.

Under the “Bed” category, for example, our three-year-old isn’t asked to vacuum his bedroom, but the seven-year-old is. This memory device can be started even up into the seventh year and the training should last a lifetime. The most important point the child learns is to answer the questions “What have I finished already?” and “What must I still do.”

After the basic hygiene and chores are taken care of, a child is free to play. This system not only helps children feel responsible, it also enables mother to feel less like a broken record. Bonnie McCullough, Lakewood, Colorado