Kanban parenting

Livia Mammarella - 20/07/2021
Can’t get your child to brush their teeth? Try a Kanban board. If that doesn’t work, throw in a daily stand-up. 

What is a Kanban board? 

A Kanban board is an everyday tool most agile teams use to run a project. It is a very visual representation of the status of work within a project. 

There are a few different versions but a basic template usually includes the following three columns:  

  • TO DO – Planned tasks  
  • DOING – In progress 
  • DONE – Completed. 

Often, there might be the addition of a BLOCKED column, these are tasks that for some reason or another cannot be progressed. For example: 

  • Cannot feed frogs as out of food. 

Why this works in a household 

Being visual works very well for many children (I know I’ve got two of them and they were excellent research subjects). 

Children understand what is expected from them – it’s simple and easy to follow and they can see what they have achieved.

Tips for your own Kanban board 

Use different colour cards for each child. In our household, we have daily tasks (little cards) versus weekly tasks (larger cards). 


Give THEM (yes, your kids) control of what they can add and encourage them to get involved. I had my kids add pink cards for me. 

Reset the board each night, or run a stand-up and do it together.

What is a stand-up? 

In an agile project, a daily stand-up meeting is a quick meeting where the team gives an update on where they are at, often done by “walking the board”. 

In this format, each person answers the following three questions:

  • What I did since last time we meet? 
  • What I plan to do next? 
  • Any blockers or issues? 

Why this works in a household? 

The Kanban board ensures we are all working together and on the same page. It also gives children a voice and allows them to be involved in what needs to get done, giving a sense of accountability.

It opens up a conversation and brings any issues to light. Really, it’s just a great excuse to catch up with your kids and, of course, get stuff done. 

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