Organization Tip # 4
Creating a System for Your School-aged Children
It took some time to come up with a system to clean house that worked well for my family with a minimum amount of stress on me.
I am tempted to tell you the stories about my trial-and-error search for the right system for us. However, since blog posts shouldn’t be too long, instead of my funny stories (which are more about what not to do), I will tell you two major things that I learned from my errors:
When setting up a system for cleaning house with your school-aged children, do not:
- allow the children to pick which jobs they want to do. The older ones are smart enough to choose the easier jobs. Bad idea!
- assign yourself a job. Otherwise, you will find you are always the last one to finish, because your main job is training your team (children) and keeping them on track. Consider yourself to be in management.
You can probably visualize what housecleaning days looked like until I got those two things figured out!
What did work?
I have four children. Therefore, I divided our house into four approximately equal groups of rooms:
- living room
- halls and laundry room
We rotated weekly, maybe to be fair (a much overused and misunderstood word, in my opinion) or maybe just because I wanted to thwart any complaining about which room someone had to clean. I did not include any bedrooms or my bathroom. Those would be cleaned at a different time. (More on this later.)
I gave the children 3×5 cards on which the jobs in their rooms were listed. (These were leftovers from a brief foray into the “Side-Tracked Home Executives” system. One sheet per room with a list of jobs to check off as completed works, too.)
Then off they go! Faster than a speeding bullet—uh, not so much. But still, off they go.
Remember, Mom, you are the manager. During this time, it is your job to train and motivate and re-train, if needed. Above all, never forget that you get what you inspect, not what you expect! I cannot tell you how many times my husband said that to me during the training process. Boy, was he right!
The cool thing about this system is, because you assign the jobs by room, if you see something not done well, you instantly know who is the culprit!
I admit that, just to keep the company morale up, I added in a little
bribery motivation. Because we homeschooled, we cleaned house on Friday mornings; this was called home economics. 🙂 After everyone had their home economics assignment completed, we could leave to go to P.E., which for my kids was roller skating with the local home school support group. 😉
Yes, ladies, you can be creative about what you call a lesson! After all, the children are learning, right? Isn’t that what education is about?
I love accomplishing two things at once!