Home maintenance can overwhelm even the most organized of us and create extra havoc when children are involved. There are days I would rather throw in the towel instead of train my children for the thousandth time how to make their bed, pick up clothes, or put away dishes. It can be exhausting and can sap my joy.
Because my four children have two year age gaps between each successive child, they each require a different approach for home management training. These four things can help any exhausted parent find motivation as they teach household life-skills to multiple ages while homeschooling.
1. Focus on Stewardship
If we focus on expecting our children to keep a perfect house—one that is magazine-worthy—we will always be disappointed. But if we keep our focus on honoring God by being good stewards of what He has entrusted to us, not only will the job be easier, we will also teach our children that the work we do is for a greater purpose.
If we start training our children early to understand that we are stewards in this world, the more quickly the truth will take root. Hopefully this will bear fruit that expresses their love for the Lord in all they do whether big or small.
2. Create a Clear List of Jobs for Each Child
What I have found helpful is to make a list of everything that needs to be done in each room of my house. Then according to each child’s age and ability, I assign a few of those jobs to each child. This room-by-room checklist is posted on a whiteboard in our breakfast area so everyone can see it.
3. Walk Your Child Through Each Task Until They Can Accomplish It Independently
When training my children in life-skills, mastery is proven when they can do it independently from the beginning to the end without hesitation.
Achieving mastery is where teaching home management gets especially challenging. If you have more than one child, you will feel torn because you can’t help everyone at the same time. Here are three keys that help me:
- Pick one room where everyone works simultaneously and you can supervise them all at once.
- Have your children do their tasks at different times of the day so you can work with one child at a time, as time allows.
- If you have older children and younger children, start a buddy system. Pair a younger and older child together to work on the same room while you go back and forth to supervise each buddy pair.
4. Keep The Same Rhythm Each Day
Keeping the same schedule (or routine) will help things run more smoothly for all ages. If your children know what to expect next, attitudes tend to stay in check.
Teaching our children to pitch in with home management not only eases our own burden as homeschool moms, but it also provides them with important life-skills. Our children gain a sense of personal discipline and confidence when they take responsibility for a task and see it to completion.
Teaching multiple children at different ages can sometimes feel difficult to manage. Sonlight makes it easier by dividing our curriculum into two types of subjects: Couch and Table Subjects. Learn more here.