Ever heard of dojo?
I was stumped when my eldest asked me to make a dojo at home.
I was like… dojo? What kind of food is that?
Being so clueless about it, I did some digging to understand the language he was talking about.
In this blog post, let me share with you this fun and easy dojo system we created together with our kids to train them to be responsible at home and beyond our home.
What is Dojo?
“Dojo” is a Japanese word which means a training place.
“Dojo Class” or “Class Dojo” on the other hand is a management tool used by schools that encourages positive student behaviours and classroom culture.
Students earn points if they behave well in the classroom and get negative dojo points if they misbehaved.
Kids Home Dojo System
Dojo System at home is a great way to acquaint kids with daily routines. Enforcing it together with an easy and cool reward system (see Cottie Reward Tool) can foster positive behaviour for learning.
Armed with a key understanding of this topic, I asked him why he wanted to have one at home.
He simply and innocently replied, “I just wanted to gain points for being good and be rewarded.”
To be honest, I was amused by the ingenuity and sincerity of my then 8-year-old kid!
If truth be told, he did me a favour.
I have been thinking of exciting and practical ways on how we can train them to be responsible individuals without necessarily boring them.
When it comes to learning…these words from Alfred Mercier resonate with my thoughts:
“What we learned with pleasure, we never forget.”
So I gave it some time to think and did some work in the background to successfully make use of this Home Dojo System as requested by my little buddy.
The one that will be effective but F-U-N for kids and for us parents too.
Define the Tasks
I took this opportunity to think of the chores that my kids can offer their helping hands and the usual routines that they often lose sight of.
After thorough thinking and brainstorming with the family, I put together the appropriate tasks for their age.
I have considered the same tasks across all categories for Little Buddy and Little Missy as their ages are not that far from each other.
I divided them into 3 categories – Morning Tasks, Evening Tasks, and Other Tasks:
|Morning Tasks||Evening Tasks|
|Make Bed||Put away bag and lunchbox – during schooldays|
|Eat Breakfast||Finish food|
|Brush teeth||Homework / Learning Day|
|Wash hands and face||Clean up toys and room|
|Get dressed||Bath and PJs time|
|Comb hair||Brush teeth|
|Bag and Lunchbox – during schooldays||Bedtime|
These are tasks expected to be done in the morning before going to school or before starting their home learning.
I intentionally made this as their first task of the day.
According to Admiral William H. McRaven, author of Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World…
“If you make your bed every morning, you have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”
Breakfast means breaking the fasting period and is considered the “most important meal of the day”.
Though eating is instinctive, feeding your littlies with the right food to fuel their morning could be a taxing battle.
Including them in their task list is not a bad idea.
This task is part of both their morning and evening routines.
Needless to say, it is important to train our kids as early as possible of good dental hygiene.
According to the Better Health Channel, it is recommended that everybody brush their teeth at least twice a day – in the morning and before going to bed at night.
Wash hands and face
My kids usually bathe at night time after a busy day from school and outdoor plays.
This is a reminder for them to wash their hands and faces in the morning in preparation to get dressed.
Be it off to real school or home school, I encourage my kids to dress appropriately.
Off to school uniforms are easy as it is expected.
But when school is done at home, we encouraged them to wear something comfortable and befitting to the weather other than their PJs.
I just have this mind thing about wearing PJs all day could bog you down from being productive. So, we encourage them to do the same.
This can easily be missed especially by the younger kids. But even my eldest, he needs reminding from time to time.
At this stage, my little girl still needs a hand completing this task but teaching her baby steps and the importance of doing it especially if she wanted to sport a longer hair.
Bag and Lunchbox – during schooldays (at school)
On school days, prepared luncheons are placed on the kitchen counter to prompt them to put in their bags ready for school.
are tasks expected to be done in the afternoon when they arrived home until the evening before they go to bed.
Put away bag and lunchbox – during schooldays
Bags on the entry door scattered and abandoned as soon as they arrived home…that’s the reason why this task is on this list.
This refers to the packed lunch they bring to school and often coming back home barely touched.
We often tell our kids for them to perform well at school they need to eat well.
But of course, kids are kids! They love wandering in amazement.
“We did not have enough time for lunch!” or “I ran out of time.” I bet you heard these many times over.
I try to choose battles with my kids. Counting this in their Dojo tasks works a treat!
Homework / Learning Day
Our kids don’t have extra tutoring from outside but to guide our kids academically, we have allotted a couple of learning days during school days.
This prompts them to read books they like or do educational exercises online or textbooks or questionnaires we prepared or we made available for them.
Clean up toys and room
If kids know how to play, they ought to know how to tidy up.
Before switching the TV or their gadgets, the kids naturally know they need to tidy their toys, their rooms as well as the living room.
This task does the trick without fail!
Bath and PJs time
It’s their routine getting ready for bed.
During the Covid era, as soon as the kids arrived from school, they know they need to take a shower and get dressed on their PJs.
When the kids were younger, there was this slight sense of accomplishment for the day once I saw both of them cleaned or bathed and into their PJs ready to be tucked into their beds.
Sleeping is automatic but going to bed at the right time especially during weekdays requires constant prodding.
But once you established the constant routine, this becomes a habit and the usual night time tug of war is gone.
To balance things out, we have allowed our kids to have overtime hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays; this is when they can extend to their normal sleeping schedule.
Kids love their OT hours!
Along with the above tasks, we included a few more side tasks:
|Sweep floors/ Wipe table|
|Dishwasher (Spoons and Forks)|
These are additional tasks that kids require prompting from time to time.
My kids love to wear socks, whether it is winter or summer. So naturally, with the socks comforting their soles and toes they forget wearing slippers.
This is our way to avoid those filthy socks straight out of the wash.
How I wish we have built indoor closers on all our doors but nada. Not a priority at this stage.
This is just a quick reminder to shut the doors of their bedrooms and more importantly the toilet and bathroom. I am very particular on this especially when the inverter is on in the family room, it helps to contain the airflow when all the doors in the nearby rooms are closed.
A green sign for them to always remember to switch unused lights to save energy and money.
Sweep floors/ Wipe Table
3 meals in a day equal floor full of crumbs. How I wish we have chooks in the backyard that I can readily let loose in the house to pick up those filthy crumbs.
They have a roster to do this task right after dinner. One does sweeping of the floor and the other one wiping of the table.
Dishwasher / Spoons and Forks
Kids are now in the age of being able to help in the unloading of the dishwasher. They previously only put away the spoons and forks but now little buddy able to help unload the rest of the dishes.
They often do this in the morning or after school if we are in a mad rush to be on time in the morning.
Now, the kids are also happy to operate the machine.
They have assigned room bins to empty every week and I get their help with the kitchen bins as well.
They are understandably not a fan of the green bin wastes but are fine with the rubbish and the recyclable bins.
DIY DOJO COMMAND BOARD
This DIY Dojo command board is very easy to make and could be a cool craft activity with your little assistants.
Below are the materials we used to make this simple and colourful command board for the family:
|Magnetic board (35x28cm)||Reject Shop||A$7.00 ea||A$7.00|
6 x Large coloured craft sticks (15x2cm)*
(cut in half)
|Mostly $2 shop||A$2.50 per pack||A$0.50|
|Magnetic Tapes**||Mostly $2 shop/Daiso||A$2.50 per pack||A$0.03|
|6-pack magnets||Kmart||A$3.00 per pack||A$3.00|
* You can use excess materials for additional command board/s as you need
HOW TO SET UP:
1. Specify the tasks according to your child’s age, capabilities, and family routines to include in the 3 task categories – Morning Tasks, Evening Tasks, and Other Tasks
You may refer to my lists above for some ideas.
2. Divide the magnetic board to 3 categories using a permanent marker – Morning and Evening Tasks at the top of the board and the Other Tasks at the bottom.
3. Label the board with the child’s name and the assigned categories and the details of the Other Tasks. Make sure you have allotted enough gaps for the Tasks and the Done space to move the markers.
4. To make the board more appealing to the little soldiers, I used two different markers.
Magnetic craft sticks markers – for the Morning and Evening Tasks. Half the large craft sticks and write the task on one side and stick the magnetic tape on the other side. Use different colors to make it more fun in the eyes of our little ones.
Store-bought Magnets – for the Other Tasks
5. Stick the markers to their designated categories.
6. Attach the board to your desired location easily accessible by your little munchkins.
HOW TO USE:
1. This board is suitable for kids who can read or make the sound of letters.
NOTE: I have opted to make use of word markers instead of symbols or photos due to resources available and it encourages my kids to read and help each other to read together.
2. The board can be frequented as often as needed by your kids until they get themselves familiarize with all the expected tasks to complete during the day.
3. The kids will move the marker to the DONE columns if the task is completed.
4. Markers are moved back to the TASKS columns at night time or morning ready for the next day routines.
Introducing kids to routine provides family an amicable way of working together.
It saves us time, our sanity, and our voices too.
It provides kids some sort of predictability, sense of security, and mastery of the skills.
Bear in mind this Home Dojo system or any similar positive behaviour tool can only be as powerful if consistently enforced and good behaviours are consistently acknowledged at the same time.
Rewarding positive behaviour encourages our children to do the learned skills over and over again.
Training them as early as possible will surely spare you some headaches in the long run.
Both learning and teaching do not have to be mind-numbing tasks to be ticked off by your kids and yourself.
There are tons of ways to make them interesting and more engaging for your little persons.
We all have some sort of routine or task to better work and collaborate with our kids at home.
What system do you use to encourage positive behaviour?
I am excited to know what other system works! Please share them in the comment section below.
Thanks for your time today!