Saturday, July 18, 2009

The worst cleaning job-mopping

This is pretty random: but last week I was dreading the kitchen needed a serious mopping. The crusted spaghetti, sand, visible muddy footprints and other food chunks that my dog wouldn't even eat (yuck!) was my first clue. I had a brain storm and remembered when I was little I loved to mop the floor. It's because we put sponges on our feet and skated around till it was clean. We had a blast. So I decided to try it and involve the kids. It worked! I enjoyed doing it with someone and my floor got clean.
After I posted last week about chores I wondered if I overwhelmed many with the chore chart for my kids. It really looks like a lot that they have to do. But because I started having him help with little things around the house when he was two and three years old, he became more and more capable and responsible. Also a lot of the things listed aren't really jobs but they are things I want them to get in the habit of doing like reading scriptures, praying, brushing teeth, and exercise (ride bike). If your just starting out doing separate chores for your children, remember to start small so you don't overwhelm your kids. It is so rewarding when my kids just do something because they know they are suppose to and I didn't even have to remind them about it. But just as I discovered with my mopping, jobs are funner in doing them with others. To help each other get motivated we like to turn on the kids fun music to listen to while we clean. Or we will help each other do the dishwasher, (each of us have certain items we are responsible for, plastic, glass, and utensils) and sometimes we have races. One thing I like to do is give them a little treat when they get so many jobs done. It just depends on the day. Sometimes they are so motivated to get up and get going and other days they need a little more encouraging. So I have to keep my thinking cap on.
Boyack in her book "The Parenting Breakthrough" says there are things you can do to help make doing chores an excellent opportunity for growth and training and about how in the world you can get your kids to work. Briefly they are:
Develop a Backbone: Using chores as a training method cannot be done by invertebrate parents. Parents must be in control and have their wits about them or it will fail. But also having a militant attitude and a total control-freak mind-set will also fail. Be firm and clear and unmovable.
Remember the Importance of Work: She said that work at home should be a priority. The training for the work we do as adults rests largely in learning how to work as a youth.
Use Lots of Methods: Some methods or chore charts work for a while and then they need to be modified for the age of your children or just for variety. Do what works for your kids. Some ideas she gave was the 1. pocket chart with a pocket of to do and done. 2. Zone Management-divide the house in zones and each person is responsible for keeping his zone clean and tidy. 3. Chore wheel 4. Random choice-kids choose their chores by random ways, drawing slips of paper, popping balloons with chores written inside 5. Monthly rotation 6. Blitz method--This works when you don't have a lot of time and everyone pitches in to get the house picked up7. Sixty-second straighten: See how much they can do in their room for 1 minute. This can be fun variation.
Define the chore clearly and then have them report when they believe it is complete. This is when the training is emphasised. You could even have on a card step by step process of cleaning the sinks or their room. This will help them see the process and understand your expectation
Set a definite time frame: Have a time frame when the jobs need to be done.
Have a no-nonsense attitude: Don't cave in to whining and complaining and back down or give second chances.
Use Rewards: Stickers, a kiss from mom with red lipstick, coupon for ice cream, etc.
Use both arms: If your married use your spouse to back you up on chores.
Be persistent: Just keep plugging away day after day, week after week, month after month and it will get better and easier but never perfect.


  1. Loved this post. We love The Parenting Breakthrough. We are doing a lot of chore training these days because my son wants to earn money to buy Legos. We have him do extra jobs beyond his regular responsibilities to earn money. He has learned to do some jobs well and it helps me out!

  2. That is a great idea to have him earn his money to buy his Legos. I need to remember about the extra chores list that Boyack suggested to put up so your kids can earn extra money. Thanks for the reminder. I've got an 8 year old dieing to get more Pokeman cards.

  3. You should check out a website I made called PowrHouse (at ). It sounds like your kids are definitely old enough, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    It's currently in beta, but it works well (we're using it for our household). You add everyone you live with (kids, spouses, roommates, etc.), add your chores (names and how often they should be done), and PowrHouse keeps track of whose turn it is to do each chore (and sends email reminders every night, with links to click to signal that you've done the chores).

    If you do end up using it, please contact me (my info is on the site) and let me know what you think, as I'm trying to make it as useful to all types of households as possible. If not, thanks at least for reading this far :)

  4. I did check this out. It has a great idea if your house has older children. It would be ideal for teenagers. Every child and parent would need their own e-mail account. If it could be adapted for younger children somehow I would be more interested in using it now. It would also be very helpful for college roomates!


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