Living in a small house with 6 people total and a dog, it is important to us to teach out children the life skills of cleaning and tidying up after themselves and the idea that all houses need basic maintenance to function well.
There are 3 things we currently do that work for multiple ages when cleaning the house.
Over the years I have done several things to get my kids involved in helping clean and tidy the house. We believe that this is a life skill and part of being a family team.
“The smallest person to do the job, does the job”.
This helps little ones both feel included but it also helps older kids evolve into bigger jobs. If there is a fight over who gets to help, it becomes the obvious answer since this is a family rule.
If no one wants to help with a select list of items that absolutely have to get done then it gets split up based on ability!
The pickup playlist.
Everyone gets to pick one song they love to be added to a playlist. hen one song on the end. It’s about thirty minutes long and ALL of us including the adults clean and tidy during that time. It’s such a short blip in the day and allows for the rest of the day to play if we’re all working together.
Write and negotiate a contract with each child
Third, we started teaching our oldest two about contracts because we recently sold a house. These contracts we write them very specific to each kiddo. Their age and abilities are taken into account and we draft something even with bonuses in mind and we do them for a certain time frame to then be renegotiated!
We also talk a lot about “the real world” in our home because well, first we homeschool so it’s part of educating them but second, we want them to understand how the world works with people that aren’t family.
We sat down and talked out 12 jobs with her. Some are super simple like “Check the water filter level every day, check the TP roll every day, Do your math lesson daily, etc.”
Then there are some things that are harder but teach her some responsibility like feeding the dog daily and weekly helping take out trash and recycling. We discussed easy jobs, hard jobs, things she does just because we’re a family team and then we wrote up a real life contract.
It detailed both her obligations and My husband and my obligations to her!
This included payment, guidance on saving and investing, and providing helpful feedback. She negotiated the price per job that she would get based on how long it would take her and/or how difficult the job would be to complete.
We all signed it and she is learning about what it means to say you will do something and sign your name to a paper. She is also learning to negotiate a contract and pay! We left nothing out, including that she gets holidays off outside of things that keep the dog alive. And she gets a checklist to help her keep track and pace herself on her time. It takes her less than an hour each day and she can do it on her own time and homeschool and play the rest of the time! Plus, she’s learning about saving and goal setting as well.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!