The “three p’s” of cleaning
I’m here to say that after eighteen years of mothering, the job thing needs to be tweaked and tweaked over and over again. But I love having a system in place that I can work from.
For years we had long lists of Saturday jobs I would write down according to what needed to be done. I’d draw my little circles for the kids to fill them in as they go. (This was a pretty awesome idea passed on by my parents.)
Kids need detailed instructions
Print out the Saturday job lists so kids will know what is expected
Set out the job lists on Friday night
I just pull those little puppies out of out and stick them on the counter on Friday night. Honestly, I think since the kids like to know what’s in store, they pull them out if I forget. And on Saturday morning they get to work. They know exactly what they need to do before they hang with friends or watch a movie or lallygag (why is “lallygag” such an awesome word??).
Accountability is key
They mark off everything they need to do, check in with me so I can inspect their work. Sometimes this is the trickiest part, but so good for kids to be accountable. And so good for moms to use care holding the kids responsible for a job well done. I think there is a whole section about this in The Parenting Breakthrough if you want to check it out. It is one of my favorite parenting books.
The great thing about the page protectors is that we can wipe off the “done” marks and those handy-dandy job lists are ready for next week.
***note: These lists don’t include their bedroom and bathroom jobs they do automatically now. Sometimes I think I should write all those down too. I don’t want the list to seem so daunting. I think the kids have been doing those things for so many years their bodies go into auto-clean mode on those things by now.
Claire and Lu were the only ones around when I pulled my camera out the other day, so here they are all smiles that they finished. Claire had already erased her checkmarks, ready for next week!
At first Lucy’s jobs stayed the same, and her list was a little shorter because I’m trying to make sure she’s trained properly.
I still need to tweak these lists…some still need more details, but man it’s making our Saturdays pretty awesome.
Teaching kids to work is a tough job. But once they start to get things down it feels a little bit like magic to me. Sure, as soon as I feel like I’ve got things down to a science everything falls apart and we have to re-vamp. I mean, let’s be real, our daily job charts have remained blank for five weeks now.
But we’re sure trying!
And right now this system has made Saturday jobs that work in our family.