Using checklists

Checklists can also help your Scouts (particularly older ones) manage themselves when they need to have or do multiple things. Again, it might seem mechanical or time-intensive to prepare the checklists, but the pay off is greater than the cost if you no longer have to prompt or nag every youth member when something needs to be done. 

When preparing checklists, remember:

  • Less is better: use as few words as possible. Symbols and pictures can help younger or less literate Scouts, and might be enough without text!
  • Stay focused: A checklist should help a youth member manage one task – “getting ready to eat dinner,” only needs a short checklist which can be tackled in one effort; “achieve your Queen’s Scout Award” will require a much more substantial one! 
  • Steps should include verbs (doing words) if an action is required: “Brush your teeth” leaves a lot less room for uncertainty than just “teeth!” 
  • Use pictures when appropriate: Many younger Scouts cannot read well, and will prefer pictures of the items or steps they need to remember. 

Sample checklist: “What I bring to Scouts”

One group created small, laminated checklists to remind Scouts what to bring to their Scout meeting each week. These checklists were then attached Scouts’ backpacks with keyrings. They only took a little while to make, but allowed Scouts to check they had what they needed without being nagged by parents or leaders. Less frustration, less forgotten uniform and water bottles, and more independence for the Scouts who used them.

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