Systems within systems. That is the way I roll. So inside of my accountable kids structure, we use Zone Cleaning for Kids. Each of my kids has two rooms that they are responsible for cleaning (outside of their bedrooms). The three oldest clean a living room space and a bathroom space. The fourth cleans the hallways and brings the laundry from the upstairs to the downstairs.
At first it was really difficult to stay on top of the cleaning. I would be helping one child and then I would come and find that a different child had been daydreaming instead of actually cleaning. It was also difficult to enforce standards because I didn’t know how much to expect out of my kids. I just knew that I couldn’t keep up with the cleaning with all 5 at home all of the time.
Then I saw an educents ad on Facebook about Zone Cleaning for Kids. I immediately looked into it, and the price was a bit on the steep side for me. Did I really want to spend $20 on a cleaning flip chart that I could make myself with some effort? So I googled them and found some sample pages.
These pages convinced me that it was worth the money and I sprang for it. I am so glad that I did. It comes with a DVD showing other kids cleaning, and that was really helpful for my kids to see that they are not the only ones expected to pitch in around the house. The first week that we had it the kids were super excited to clean. They had the entire house beautiful within days.
The honeymoon period wore off when they realized that it was more cleaning than what they were used to doing. We stuck with it (because I LOVE it), and they have come to some awesome conclusions like, “If I clean every day it actually goes really fast,” and “Cleaning when it is already clean is a lot better than waiting for it to get dirty.”
I am also not the only person in the house invested in the idea of putting my stuff away. I have noticed that the kids have gotten really good at policing their respective areas. I hear them telling each other, “Please put your things away. I have to clean this room tomorrow, and how would you feel if I left my stuff all over your room?” It isn’t always perfect, and I still run into moments when I feel like I have to say something, but I have noticed that it is a lot less now.
The kids were all trying to use the flip chart at the same time, so I made a bunch of copies of each room type and laminated them to keep a checklist in each room. I have four kids using these sheets and I wasn’t going to buy 4 sets. I have to admit that I love using the flip chart too. It is really nice to take on a big job in smaller pieces, and I also love how they spread the bigger jobs throughout the week.
I got the set that comes with the laundry flip chart, and I have yet to implement it. We have been working on our daily chores for a couple of months now, and I have successfully rolled my oldest 4 kids into cleaning and following the flip chart. It took a bit with my 3 and 5-year-olds because I had to do it with them a lot. They are getting more self-sufficient, and when I feel like they are a well-oiled machine, I plan on adding laundry days for each kid starting with my oldest two.