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We know it's important to give our children chores and responsibilities, but often we assume they know what to do. Here is a fun way to teach them how to do it right.

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  • We know it's important to give our children chores and responsibilities, but often we just assume that they know what to do. We excuse their poor job because, after all, they're “just kids.” However, we're doing them a disservice if we don't teach them how to do the job right in the first place.

  • I came up with this idea one year as I faced another summer with all six of my young children at home. I knew the kind of damage they could do to a clean house. I decided I needed to take preventative measures. So, I began the summer by opening the Mother's Happy Home Cleaning school.

  • Gathering

  • . We started at 9:00 a.m. every morning, we gathered together for a song and family prayers. We discussed any announcements and checked the family calendar. Then, I introduced the task for the week. I started with easy chores and worked my way up to more complicated ones.

  • Demonstration

  • . I introduced a particular task and demonstrated the proper way to complete it. If we were washing the sink, I showed them how to scrub around the faucet and the drain. If were were washing the toilet, then I showed them how to reach the rim and not forget the base. I showed them how to vacuum around the edges as well as in the middle of a room. I made sure that I included details that they would likely overlook.

  • Practice

  • . After my demonstration at the beginning of the week, I had my children take turns practicing the new skill throughout the remainder of the week. I remained on hand to correct and demonstrate again as necessary. As the week progressed, they were able to complete the task without any help from me.

  • Chore list

  • . In addition to learning the new skill, my children were responsible for completing their chore list every morning. The chore list consisted of things like cleaning their room and picking up their toys. We would work together to clean common areas such as the playroom or the living room. They had to complete their list before they could play and participate in fun summer activities.

  • Rewards

  • . My kids developed a deep sense of satisfaction from doing such a great job on their work. I praised them for doing so well, and we often talked about how nice it was to enjoy such a clean house. In addition, I would surprise them with occasional rewards. It might be homemade ice cream, a water balloon fight or a trip to the park.

  • Graduation

  • . At the end of the summer, we held a graduation ceremony. I printed out award certificates and bought a big treat for each child. I talked about what a great job they had done and emphasized how learning these skills will help them when they become adults. Then, we enjoyed a graduation party with cake and ice cream.

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  • Flexibility

  • . I chose Mother's Happy Home Cleaning school because cleaning was a skill that my family needed to work on. However, you can adapt the program to your family's needs. You can choose to have Cooking School, Finance School, Music School or Arts School. The same format would still apply.

  • Mother's Happy Home Cleaning School saved my sanity. It addressed a need in my family, and it allowed me to teach my children important skills in a fun environment. By getting our work done early in the morning, we were free to spend the rest of the day enjoying our summer. Best of all, maintaining a clean home made the summer much less stressful for me.

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Shelli Howells is a creative fiction writer, and a mother of six.

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