FLYing with Teenagers

“For years our children have been hearing us whine, nag, yell and any other manner of negative communication focused at them: you know those dirty looks, mommy fingers, rolling eyes. Nothing makes you madder than when one of your sweet darling babes does it back to you! Guess what! You deserve the wake up call! You have set the example and you will reap what you sow! Whether you want to believe it or not, you are your children’s most influential teacher! ” – FlyLady

Thank-you everyone who sent in ideas about FLYing with teenagers! Every family is different, but communication, involvement, family suppers, family space, private space, getting rid of STUFF (Something That Undermines Family Fun), laughter, and plenty of hugs make FLYing easier. Remember, you are the leader, you set the example. It is not so much what you say, but what you do! When your family sees you setting the example (routines and regularly decluttering STUFF), they will join in! We have thousands of testimonials to prove it! It may take awhile, and they may join in using simple BabySteps, but is it worth the wait. And in the meantime, you have been taking care of you, your home, and your family! You are FLYing!

This list is long, set your timer for 15 minutes, so you don’t get sidetracked!

Are your routines written down so that you kids, husbands can follow it. This is the start of having everything written down that needs to be done. Now make a date to work on this some more. before bed routine – 10 minutes at night will save 30 minutes in the morning have you decluttered in your own areas – Go into the room where your family likes to hang out and find 3 things to toss. Family area to meet greet. Kids need to hang out with rest of the family, it needs to be kid friendly so they are not isolated in their bed room. is your bed made? You want a peaceful place you for to sleep and rest. Teenagers are not aliens. Ask your kids what they want for dinner. It has to be stuff you already have in the house. We are celebrating spring tonight. supper together – tonight you eat as a family by candlelight! doesn’t matter if it is taco and pizaa night, the purpose is to enjoy your company. Getting the kids involved in meal planning get them interested.

From our members…..

1. We have a chalkboard/key rack in the kitchen where I write the week’s dinner plans. This week, my 14 yr old son VOLUNTEERED to develop the menu and then helped cook every night! It was fun, and we even made Hooter’s Buffalo Wings last night! It has helped cut down on the trips to the store with meals planned in advance.

2. On Saturday, when my youngest turns 13, I will be the proud mom of three teenagers. This is a great time in my life (and, I hope, theirs). My biggest suggestions are to keep the lines of communication open and to get excited about what makes them excited. I love uninterrupted time in the car. We can share any and all concerns and no one will stop us. I try not to be shocked by what they say and I am never afraid to speak my mind or give suggestions. I want my children to have their own opinions but I have a right to express my values, too. I encourage their friends to come to our house, also. It helps me know what is going on in everyone’s life and I always keep a stash of homemade treats. I work full time but these years go by quickly and I don’t mind staying up late to bake or cook if it means more time with my kids. Secondly, I hate sports but two of my kids love them. I have sunburn, windburn, chapped lips, cheeks, and bums but I go to all their sporting events. They love the support I give them and I like meeting their friends and friends’ parents. I have become quite adept at pretending I understand the rules to swimming, diving, soccer, basketball, track, cross country, and even ping pong. I am never at a loss for words at a cocktail party since I have learned the fine art of “fudging”. Thankfully, one of my children loves music as much as I and we spend hours playing duets, listening to music, and attending concerts together. What a treat! My oldest teen is a junior in high school and when we made her first college visitation this summer I realized how little time we had left together. It’s never to late to talk, talk, talk. Maintain your control as parent but allow yourself the opportunity to relax and enjoy this beautiful time in your child’s life. Flying Forever Young in Midlothian, VA

3. My philosophy has always been to teach by example. I will admit that I suffered from the “binge cleaning” syndrome. I have been flying for just a few weeks now, and I noticed something phenomenal the other day. I have been keeping my sink shiny and all the dishes done every night, not leaving my laundry unattended and making dinner every night. My 17 year old daughter, out of the blue, vacuumed her bedroom. This may seem like a small fete to the rest of you, but you have to understand what it took her to find her floor to vacuum it. I didn’t ask, beg, bargain, yell or in any other way solicit this activity, it just happened, she just did it.

4. We have a blended family and the blending has, at many times, been more of an oil and water thing. For three years I have been fighting with our five teenage daughters to assist with the chores as I work full-time. I had given up completely and had pretty much checked out myself. I didn’t cook or clean anymore, I just hid in my room, which was a mess as well. I thought my house was too far gone and I would just wait until they all moved out, clean, repaint, and have my house back again.

5. Then I found FlyLady and thought, maybe, just maybe, I could have my house back. I could do 15 minutes here and there in the evenings; a five minute room rescue and a 27 item boogie somewhere during the week. These girls whom I couldn’t bribe or beat into helping me are suddenly taking their own initiative. Instead of resenting that I have to pick up a backpack or a sweatshirt, I just blow through the room, pick up everything and deposit it on their beds. They’re getting the hint. My hotspots of the dining room table and kitchen island are now as I envisioned them: shiny, decorated and mostly clutter free (does anyone know where to order an in-the-cabinet pull out multican recycling thing?).

6. Thank you, for giving me hope when I was without hope, and a system that even a seriously workaholic SHE can work to keep her home a home and not just a place to “crash”. – in California

7. I fly with my 17 year old DD by keeping special rituals just between us two. We have howled at the full moon since she was a little girl, we have special “dates” that are planned and posted (out for tea, a special shopping trip, the art museum, lunch downtown, visit the Japanese Gardens, etc.). I always sit down with her every morning at breakfast to talk. I stop whatever I am doing. This is a great straight A student. Her room is a fright but I don’t care. Her job is school. Never, ever part without saying”I love you!”

8. I have one 15 year old son at home and I’m proud to say my whole family is learning to FLY. I work full-time, but I live close to my office and I have a 1 1/2 hour lunch break, so during my lunch hour I get dinner together to the point that all my husband and child have to do is stick it in the oven at a certain time, and it’s almost done by the time I get home! This removes a lot of stress for me during the week. Also, my son and I do our home blessing hour on Saturday while my husband mows the lawn. My son is so impressed that together we can clean our whole house in less than an hour! Of course, I keep up my morning and evening routines, and I zone clean when I have enough time at lunch. I’ve noticed that even my son is keeping his room more picked up and he even makes his bed occasionally without being asked!

9. One of the biggest challenges I have is starving teenagers crashing through the front door with “What’s to eat!?”. I have started putting freshly cut berries, kiwi, and other fruit in plastic containers in the refrigerator in individual servings on Sunday evening. Almost everything is ate by Tuesday evening so I restock. I have also started freezing the sandwiches for lunch. The kids put the frozen sandwich in their lunch bag in the morning and it keeps things cool and is defrosted by noon. My children are eating much healthier now that they are snacking on fruit and veggies instead of begging for chips and cookies. Flying in Edwardsville, IL

10. Need to know what time your teens come straggling in without staying up? Set the alarm so that they have to be in to turn it off before the curfew time. Great for the nerves. – Still flybaby in Ky.

11. I have one teenager still at home. She’s 14. She knows what I’m doing but hasn’t really been “motivated” to start flying yet (I’m still working on that ). But the other day I printed out the “bathroom mission” & left it on her sink in her bathroom (didn’t tell her to do, just left it there) & after she worked her way through it she was so happy to show my how she organized under her sink & how her sink & mirrors were clean too. I’m very proud of the slow but sure work she’s doing on it. A flybaby in FL

12. A helpful tip for those with teenagers, who sometimes you can’t tell if there are really listening or off in the clouds thinking about upcoming tests, boyfriends/girlfriends, plans with friends….you get the drift.

13. Well, I have a big dry erase marker I keep in the top vanity drawer in their bathroom and I write messages or the “to-do-list” on the mirror. Since every teenager looks in the mirror about 100 times a day – between makeup and hair LOL….they are sure to get the message. – Flying in Albuquerque

14. My teenagers are boys, 14 & 16. They think that flylady is NOT for them!! I can forgive them for this because they are teenage boys and don’t know any better!! (I also have a 7 year old DD who loves flylady!!) They are all expected to make their beds and pick up stuff off the floors daily. In order to get their allowance – by Saturday afternoon sometime they have to do a few extra chores. We have five bathrooms in our house – one in the attic where the boys’ rooms are and one in the basement where they play and 3 others in between. The boys alternate between cleaning their own bathroom and the basement bathroom each week (so they both have to do one – the basement one being the easiest one since only the toilet gets very dirty). They also have to dust their rooms, tidy up their shelves, desk, cupboard, bed and floor in order to get their pay. I follow this with all three of them and it is based on the book sold on Flylady’s website – Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees. They then get their age in dollars (Candian!!! LOL) each week but have to put 30% into savings and give to charity 10%. Just as it says in the book – if they don’t finish their chores they don’t get paid… you wouldn’t pay the painter if he only painted half the house….

15. They also help with other stuff around the house like meal prep and clean up, and even occasionally vacuum – but it is done more as a team effort rather than what allowance is based on. If they do extra work like shovelling or raking leaves then they could earn extra money. This has worked really well for us for the past six months. At some point we will have to figure out how to cut back on paying the oldest one as he earns more money outside the home – but for now we are doing really well… Flybaby in Toronto


I have been told these tips are so helpful and enjoyable, that it is too easy to become sidetracked while reading them (we are SHEs after all). Before you know it, several hours have gone by and you feel like you have not accomplished anything. Time for a Surprise! Do you know what is for supper? Tonight is the night. Quick, go check the freezer, cupboard, or fridge and decide what the family is going to have for supper. Find the recipes you need. Write it down on the calendar. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Let me know what you decided. Send an email to and put “supper” in the subject line. Then, keep reading. There is a method to these surprises LOL (laugh out loud)!

16. My biggest problem is getting my teen DD to clean up after herself. She is very active and always has a “teen” attitude but I’ve found that if I ask her to do something and give her a deadline in the morning like “Please clean your room sometime before you go to bed tonight.” I get better results than just demanding that she clean her bedroom on my time schedule. I’ve found the key to teens is making them feel like it’s their decision as much as possible. lol

17. I am FLYing with twin daughters age 17. I started last summer while their father was deployed with the Air Force. At first they just watched me do all the work. If I asked for something they would do it, but mostly they just watched. One day they admitted they liked the clean house and cleaned their rooms. Pretty soon I found them folding up their throws and putting them away when they were done watching television. They found places for their own stuff and put it there each night. I don’t have to nag or anything. Their rooms are still kind of messy, but I let them decide when to clean them up. And they do it! If I knew a good example was all they needed, I would started this years ago. FLYing in CA

18. The prospect of no spending money at the end of the week is a great incentive to keep your room tidy, hang your clothes up, put dirty clothes in the linen basket, make your bed, do your homework as soon as you get home from school, pack your school bag before bedtime and lay out the next day clothes.

19. I used to use the threat of “grounding” but that didn’t work. Instead I hit them where it hurts – in the pocket. It is amazing how the simple reminder “do you want your spending money on Saturday?” gets the required results. You have to be firm and not give in. Once they know you mean business they will not risk having no pocket money.

20. I have a list of routines and of things I expect from my children (aged 10 – 21) whilst they live in my home. That way they know exactly what is expected of them and there are no excuses “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that”. Each child is responsible for keeping their own rooms clean and tidy, beds made etc and also changing the sheets every week. They also have one other job involving cleaning and tidying the rest of the house eg one child empties the bins and sweeps the kitchen floor every morning. Another child sets the table. The chores don’t take long but it makes them feel involved in the running of the home.

21. Also we eat at the table as a family for every meal we eat at home. We eat our main meal at 5pm which I cook, but then everyone is responsible for helping clear the table and then wash and dry the dishes, and clean the counters etc. By 6 pm our kitchen is neat and tidy and we have the whole evening ahead to do whatever we want to.

22. It wasn’t always like this! In fact we have lived in CHAOS for years. Routines are the key, not just for the homemaker, but for everyone.

23. My son is almost 14 and it’s a real challenge to get him to do anything – and he’s also at that age where he doesn’t get the “hint” I set by example, so directions have to be direct. Also, when I give instructions, I’m usually guaranteed to hear whining – I admit sometimes I do get into it with him if I’m really tired and crabby and feeling like a martyr (I’m trying really hard to get past this), but I do try to look him in the eye and give him the choice: you can do this with me screaming at you or without me screaming at you, but you will do it. Which choice will it be? He usually picks the right one. Specifying a time to get off the computer – it goes off at 8:00 – helps too. Taking the TV out of his room helped even more ~~ I find a lot less food in there despite the fact that there’s always been a rule No Food In the Bedroom.

24. The 27 fling boogie is our saving grace! I give him a bag and let him go to work in his room. It’s always more than 27 LOL! I try to do this on Monday nights (the day before garbage day – no chance to “rescue” items).

25. Every night, I send him on “dish patrol” – bring in all the cups, plates and other stuff to be washed BEFORE I run the dishwasher since it is very aggravating to start the cycle and 5 minutes later finding a pile of dirty dishes on the counter (if they pile up, I make him wash them by hand — next time, bring them in on time).

26. Also, during my evening routine, I have him pick up all of his stuff from the living room and dining room. I have wood floors and large area rugs that are usually covered with leaves and other stuff tracked in from the great outdoors. After his stuff is picked up, I run a swiffer across the wood and a non-motorized carpet sweeper around the living room and entrance hall to pick up the debris and it sure beats hauling out the vacuum! It’s probably the best $17.00 I ever spent.

27. Hello…I have six teenagers and a farm…their daily routine… Mom is sitting at the table with her coffee and shoes on when they arrive downstairs. I remind them of their “flying orders” if needed…room, bed, dress, hair and outside for animal feeding chores. They come in for breakfast made by mom and each have a small straighten up living room and then a homework check and off to school. On no schooldays they have an hour or so of cleaning chores. I occasionally inspect beds and rooms (leave a candy on the bed!) and of course since I have my shoes on I can check to see if animal pens and waters are clean. Very seldom is an animal unfeed…and if they aren’t look out! Excluding breakfast all this takes about 45 minutes and leaves me with well-groomed kids, well looked after animals and a fairly tidy house.

28. Also we have a routine for house cleaning twice a week we have developed over the years…generally Tuesday and Friday. Since we have a small house, areas are divided into four…living room, kitchen floors and hotspots, bathroom and entryway. Everyone knows how they are supposed to do the task…they all do them at the same time…takes about 35 minutes and voila…it’s done! I usually stay around to supervise….I find this is a real key for the “slap and dash” type cleaners. My oldest is away at college and the youngest acts as the “gopher” though her older sisters are training her to do all the jobs. Note: five are girls but my son does as well as his sisters at chores though I find he needs more supervision…he’s l3! Sometimes if I need a break I’ll go to coffee with a friend and when I come home things are generally done.

29. Our evening routine is mostly centered around homework and animal chores, though I require my children to take their personal possessions to their rooms at night. Also three at a time do supper dishes on a rotating schedule…one washes, one dries, and one kitchen cleans. (I find this is the only chore they really complain about as they would rather be watching TV!) Dishes first is my motto.

30. All my children have been in 4H or are currently in 4H. I find this has really helped them to learn to be responsible, develop routines, and keep records. It’s truly wonderful! – in BC

31. My three kids (11, 14, 15) Have one small chore to do each day. Sweep a floor, vaccum one level of the house, clean a bathroom, you get the idea. These chores take less than 15 minutes and they make a HUGE difference in the way our home looks. If they do a great job with a great attitude they can earn a tip on top of their usual allowence. They are learning useful life skills 15 minutes at a time! Flying in Canada

32. I don’t have a hard copy of my control journal, it’s a spreadsheet, since I spend most of my time at my computer anyway. This week is spring break here in So. Utah, and I was called on to work out of the home. Although my teen daughter had laughed at me for my *fly lady fetish* she managed to get into my control journal, and every day this week she has tackled a zone (she didn’t know we only do each zone 1 wk/mo). My front porch, dining room, bathrooms & the kid’s bedroom are all sparkling! She even took the master bedroom list I do, and is applying it to her room (the one place in the house I do not tidy up). This has shown me that even though she didn’t appear to be on board, she was listening, and learning, and likes the way our home is now.

33. I have two teen sons. For the past three years, we have had a chore list for everyday of the week except Sunday. Basically it was fairly smooth sailing until the last few months. My eldest son has more homework and feels under more stress and he keeps being inconsistant with his chores. that resulted in me nagging, threatening, etc. Finally, I decided to just let it go. Now that is totally not like me. But I felt that peace in my home mattered more and that the boys already knew how to do so many domestic chores they could be independant. I did insist, however, that they continue to clean the inside and outsides of our vehicles on Saterdays. Also, the younger son cleans up after supper and the older one enpties the dishwasher. AND that when they see that something needs doing, just try to be generous enough to do. Period.

34. The good news is that my incredibly sloppy DH and one son (the older is quite organized) are beginning to show our home environment more respect because I keep it cleaner AND because – as flylady says so often – as I changed my attitude my family did, too. They even say “thank you” now. It all began with me. I have learned to not feel demeaned by serving. It’s my choice and I try to do it for God, too.

35. That’s not to say we don’t have any quarrels, but it is no longer the norm and we now also enjoy sit-down dinner together with candles. Teen boys do like candles. lol

36. I wish I had known flylady when my boys were younger. But no looking back with regrets. I’m teaching my less organized son to clean out his backpack once a week and to write down assignments. He’s a really bright guy, but lack of organization has hurt his grades at school. He is just now starting to get it together a bit more and the grades are up to mostly A’s. Flying with teens 🙂 is a trip.

37. Dear FlyLady, As I read testimonials, I have so much in common with so many of the people, both the challenges and accomplishments. This is so comforting.

38. Laundry had certainly become a challenge for me – not washing the dirty clothes, but folding and putting the clean clothes piled in my room, away. As my DS has become a teenager, he cares more about what he wears. This is fine, but he didn’t find it fun having to rummage in my bedroom for the clothes he wanted to wear every morning.

39. DS was very patient, but he pointed out to me that he wouldn’t have to bother me for clothes every morning if they were hanging in his closet. He helped me fold clothes sometimes, but I couldn’t blame him for my disorganization. I have gotten my laundry situation under control now. It sure takes less time to fold and put away one load of clothes at a time, and it’s so much less discouraging, than having to fold several loads that have piled up.

40. DS now has clean clothes available in his own room, and, without coaching from me, has started to lay out his clothes the night before! I praised him for this just last night! DS has also asked me to show him how to do his own laundry! Wow! No nagging involved (LOL)!

41. I have one other challenge that has become smoother in a round-about way. By combining several hot spots in the family room into one temporary hot spot, we have greatly improved the atmosphere and shared space in the family room. I know this sounds funny, but this is what I’ve done.

42. I have put a basket at the bottom of the stairs. When I find my DS and DD’s things “hanging around” too long in the family room I place them in the basket. The kids are asked to take something up with them to put away everytime they go upstairs. If this doesn’t happen (well, they are teenagers), I pick a time during the weekend when they are instructed to clean out the basket.

43. So far this has worked because they are always happy to find that thing they were “missing.” I don’t have to nag because the basket is an “easier” alternative, their things don’t get lost, and longterm the kids contribute to keeping our home neat without arguments (parents with teenagers will understand the benefits of this). Hope this helps, BabySteps in Massachusetts

44. Well, I don’t know if anyone will think this is a very good tip, but… tip is that I pick up after my daughter! I do this daily. My mother did it for me. I think she (as was I) is a very normal teen who doesn’t care if her room is a mess or not. But I care. I can’t stand it. I’ve decided not to fight the battle of trying to get her to do this. There are many more important things to focus on, like supporting her in her studies at school, being available to drive her around, since she’s too young to drive yet, being available to listen to her when she’s ready to share with me, and tuning in to her to be aware of what she’s doing and who she’s doing it with.

45. However, if her room were a mess all the time, I’d probably feel resentful and this would impact my relationship with her. Thus, since I’m the one who has the problem about this, I’m the one who solves it — I pick up after her every day after she’s gone to school and her room looks great! Since I do this daily (except on weekends when I leave her room alone) it takes 5 minutes or less to pick up, and another 3 minutes to make her bed. It may take 2 or 3 minutes more on Mondays, depending on how messy she’s been over the weekend.

46. Now some of you will say that I’m not teaching my daughter to do this herself, but my mom did this for me and I turned out OK. My house is always picked up, (especially now that I’m FLYing). I fully expect that when my daughter is on her own, hers will be too. But right now I’m focusing on the important things like what I’ve mentioned above, since those are my priorities — doing well in school, having fun with friends, developing good values, staying away from harmful things like drugs, alchohol, and sex, etc……. So, I’m keeping up with her room instead of focusing on what she doesn’t do in that area. And, my goal is to do this without nagging or whining. I’m 95% successful at that, falling into such negatives rarely.

47. Another nice thing about this is that since there is nothing on the floor of her room, sleeping bags can be spread on the carpet with no trouble when she has girlfriends here for a sleepover!

48. This works for homeschool and teenagers and school age children. On Sunday evening, I put together a list of what needs to be done for the week.

Animal care
Dressed to the shoes
I also add on all schoolwork to be done these days
language arts bible
Also we FLY
15 minutes dusting
vacuuming etc.
Each child gets their weekly chores and schoolwork on the kitchen table Monday morning. They will check off their chores, schooling and FLY work.

49. I am a single Mom living with my 17 year old son. I am turning him into a FlyGuy!! Like all teenagers he loves to prop himself in front of the tv with snacks. So.. I started babysteps with him.. and suggested using the commercials as timers and do 5 minute boogies… it is working!!!

50. Since I am still very much in Babysteps..I am just finishing my first week of Flylady.. this one small feat of his multiplies because I don’t have to do THAT five minute boogie. My boogie can be spent doing something else.. so.. double the results and my FlyGuy is learning how to be tidy and be organized. Really looking forward to next week!! – from Halifax

This way they don’t ask what to do next. Only for help or to say, “Mom, can I play now, I’m done with my list for the day.” – It works for me. And FLYing helped me get there.


Time for another surprise! Decide where you are going to eat tonight: on the dining room, or kitchen table (it doesn’t matter which). Now, set your timer for 15 minutes and clear off the chosen table. Give it a good wipe so it shines for supper! Dig out the half burned candles, you are going to need them for the next surprise! Let me know what you clear off. Send an email to and put “supper table” in the subject line.

51. One thing that has really helped my teens (16,17,19) is that I bought each of them – and me, too! – a Wal-Mart laundry hamper divided into three sections for each of their rooms. Each teen has a day of the week to do their laundry. All they have to do is bring their full bags of laundry down to the kitchen, where our washer and dryer are located, so it is easy for me to make sure that all items get returned to their bedroom. Our washer and dryer tops are hot spots that I monitor every day or they get out of control. Now, our nineteen yo just “doesn’t get it” and his clothes still end up thrown all over his bedroom, but I just keep the door closed and hope that our examples will eventually lead him down the road of peace. My sons are all foster sons who have either lived in total chaos before coming to my home, or were beaten into keeping their rooms spotless. I find that living by example and not nagging usually eventually works.

52. I have an 18 year old DD who is such a “SHE” it’s not even funny! Of course, she got all of her sheness from me! She was going through her laundry last night and I told her she just has too many clothes!! I mean, there are clothes EVERYWHERE in her bedroom! We discussed it and decided that whatever had not been worn in 6 months to a year, get rid of. She asked me, “How do I throw clothes away?” “I might want to wear that one day???” (SHE) I told her not to think of it as throwing away, think of it as GIVING to someone else. Her and her friends like to go to the thrift store for some of their clothes. I told her to take her old clothes there and some other girl might just find them and NEED them! She would take them home and really NEED it! That seemed to make my DD feel better about parting with things she did not really need now, and her room looks 100% better! I hope that the Flylady and I have created a new flybaby without my DD even knowing it! Hopefully, she will not carry this sheness with her into adulthood now and not feel guilty about getting rid of things, no matter what it is, away any more! Thanks! – Flybaby in Illinois

53. Leading by example is the best with teens ( or anyone else for that matter). My DD is very dis-organized, but she is taking babysteps. Having her bed made is her shiny sink. She has a laundry day or she can put her clothes out on my laundry days . Either is OK, just get them done & put away.

54. We homeschool also, DD will graduate in June. I’ve noticed that she has been keeping her study materials neater & more organized. She gets her hated subjects done 15 minutes at a time – sometimes with the timer & lots of grumbling. She’s really bought into the you can do anything for 15 minutes idea.

55. Actually I have 10 & 14 yos. Recently I had to add dropping off my 14yo to a carpool meeting place by 7am to my morning routine. It was the stick that broke the camel’s back. The first week was insane. I was a raving lunatic in the mornings.

56. Then I realized that part of the problem was that my head was just full of lists of what to do in the mornings. My list is written down, but the kid’s lists were not. My 14 yo dd has add organizational problems, so each step for her in the mornings was a process of reminding her what to do, then checking if she’d done it, reminding her again, checking again… So get dressed, make your bed, brush your teeth, eat your breakfast … becomes a 100 item list to carry in my head. I had no room left for my own thoughts. So I wrote down their lists! I did it on the computer with M-F columns & check boxes. Now I have ONE thing to say to them. “Let me see your list – what have you checked off so far?” My brain is my own again! They were not thrilled with the accountability of having it all on paper, but they agreed that they did not really like my yelling at them in the mornings – so we struck a deal. It is particularly helpful for my older daughter who really does have a problem remembering what she is supposed to do each morning & tends to wander into other activities. (Advanced cosmetics & hairstyling…) Also when we have a bad day we can look at the list together & rationally discuss where things went wrong.

57. It is interesting that my 10yo dd who is seriously BO seems to resent the list more. I think she was skipping things here & there because she did not want to do them, not because she was forgetting. The morning routine was going so smoothly for her that I wasn’t checking too closely what things she was doing & what she was skipping. Having it all written down is revealing.

58. Because the list has columns for the week, we can review it at the end of the week. We can also write notes on it & I “X” out the things I find undone after they’re out the door. I think one of the things that helps is that I started with the attitude that I don’t expect perfection. There are a few things every day that don’t get done. That’s OK. But now we can look & see if it’s 10% or 50% & discuss it rather than having a yelling session with accusations and denials. They can’t say the problem is “just in my head” – because I kicked it out of there & got it on paper!

59. This is one of the lists – they have customized them & each have their own – but this is the idea. Having a couple times in the morning when they have to look at the clock & note the time was important. Now I can give them a kiss and a smile as they go off for the day. And that is the most important part of it all. Thank you flylady!

Thank you for all you do to enable me to continue doing this job that I love – being a calm, loving mother. – Flying grandmother in Maine

Make bed
Brush teeth
Put away PJs
Dirty underwear in the laundry
Get dressed
Brush Hair
Close drawers
Put on Glasses or contacts
Turn off lights/radio/alarm & come downstairs
Put on shoes
What time is it? – it should be about 6:40

Eat breakfast – take your time & finish
Take vitamins
Clear breakfast dishes

Take your lunch
Pack everything in backpack or purse
Put on coat
Carry 2 things to car – backpack & purse
What time is it? – it should be about 6:55

Quiet moment in the car – remember everything?
Have a relaxed & peaceful day.

Put lunchbox in the kitchen
Put dirty socks in the laundry
Put away shoes & coat
Put flyers/letters/tests in Mommy’s box
Do homework

60. Love them all. The biggest tip I can give for flying with teenagers is to welcome their friends into your house with open arms and hearts. Offer to pick them up to come over and take them home or drop them off wherever. Some of the teens I have come in contact with actually scared me a bit at first. Many of them, however, crave to see something of a ‘normal’ homelife. They thrive on that little bit you do for them by picking them up and bringing them over to your teen’s home. My daughter’s friends are relieved that they can come into my home and relax with my daughter without being judged. I may not always agree with their beliefs but they are still welcome. My DD has friends that are gay, Wiccan, Catholic, want-to-be-Catholic, straight, black, white, Asian, mixed race and color, and too many more differences to begin to put names to. And I really don’t want to put names to them. I just want these kids to have a place they can go, free of insults and jibes. Too many of them have some very ugly home lives. Lets show them some hope and the peace they can have by finally loving themselves.

Lay out clothes – incl. socks & underwear
Ask Mommy for signed tests & other flyers
Pack up backpack & put by door
Pick up things off the floor & around your room
Brush teeth
Fight with sister (This is NOT supposed to get checked off LOL)
Put on PJs
Dirty clothes in the laundry
Close your drawers

Last Surprise

Setting the table for supper. Yup, even if you are having leftovers, taco, pizza, whatever, tonight the table is going to sparkle! Set it nice complete with napkins, the extra fork that no one knows what it is used for, good glasses (even if they don’t match – mine don’t LOL), serving spoons, and of course, the candles you usually save for special occasions! Your teenagers may think the candles are corney, but they will smile later on! Let me know how it goes. Send an email to and put “supper table” in the subject line. Enjoy your supper with your family. Kids of all ages like to eat together!

61. Greetings, Flybabies and Full-Fledged Flyers! I’m a single mom of a teenager (16), a pre-teen (12), and a nine-year old. I am also a full-time student at Florida State University (go NOLES!). Needless to say, life is overwhelming most of the time. After two years of struggling to get my life and house back in order, thank goodness I found FlyLady! I’ve still got a loooong way to go to ‘catch up,’ but things are looking better already. I have a great idea that may help others with their laundry quandry! My kids and I devised a great laundry plan! Everyone has an assigned day of the week as THEIR LAUNDRY DAY. I bought everyone a set of color-coded towels (4 each, 8 washcloths…the thin cheap ones), and they do those too! Voila!! no more big pile-up in the laundry room! Everyone is responsible for their own clothes, towels, and SOCKS!! You do not know the “load” this has taken off of me!

62. Since I started Flylady back in August, I’ve been giving my daughter a list of things to do every afternoon when she comes in. It’s to be done before homework, telephone time or internet. And it’s working!!!!! If I fold clothes in the mornings while she’s getting ready she puts them up. She’s also has 5 minute room rescues in her bedroom and bathroom and surprising enough she’s doing them without me adding them to the list. All of her work compliment what I’ve either done the night before or in the morning before I go to work. I’ve even had her do some of my missions giving me time to do other things. She went through a phrase where every time I gave her something to do, her comment was I’m a cleaning freak by now she sees the benefits and she’s keeping her room clean too. I’ve always had the rule that before she goes anywhere or has anyone over she has to clean her room and bathroom – now it takes her just a few minutes to do it all!!! Thanks Flylady for all you’ve helped me accomplish!!!! Keep up the good work and know there aren’t words for me to express my appreciation to you!

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