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Parent Tips & Ideas

Making Family Chores Fun
Introduce your kids to new ideas and skills that will help keep the family home clean and organized during the school year. They’ll also learn to take pride in a job well done!

Activity 1: Create Job Squares
Begin by helping your kids see how many jobs need to be done around the house.
Step 1 -Name each job. Ask kids to name every household task they can think of. Help them out by asking them to name the things they do around the house ("Do you pick up your toys?"). Also ask kids to name the tasks other family members perform. As each task is mentioned, write it down on a list.

Step 2 -Create "job squares." Take some paper and cut it into pieces that are about the size of index cards. Write down each task you listed in step 1 on a separate piece of paper. These will be job squares, which you will use later. Kids may wish to write the job squares themselves or decorate them with drawings.

Step 3 - Organize job squares. Lay all the squares out on a table. Aren't there a lot of things that get done around the house each week? If you wish, give a small reward for each square that's been completed.

Activity 2: Lunchin' in the Rain
Help your child learn how to pack a nutritious school lunch. Start by handing each child three Plastic Zip-top Sandwich Bags.
Help kids make good choices.
 Ask kids to choose foods they think a parent would pack for lunch. These foods should be available in your refrigerator or pantry.

Have kids pick 1) a fruit or vegetable; 2) an item made with grains, such as pretzels, crackers, or another snack; and 3) bread and fixings for a sandwich (meat, cheese, or other items).

Place each item carefully in a zip-top sandwich bag, and tell kids to carefully close the top of the zip-top sandwich bag,. When everything is safely sealed, place all the sandwich bags in a paper sack.

Throw in a surprise.
 What if it were to rain on the way to school? Show kids what might happen by putting the finished paper lunch sack in the kitchen sink and running a generous amount of water over it.

Continue until the kids are wide eyed and the sack is saturated. Then ask what has happened to the food. The kids will probably think the food is soaked. Imagine their surprise when the soggy sack is opened and the food inside the zip-top sandwich bag, is still crisp and fresh.

Congratulate kids for doing a good job of fixng their lunch, and share some of the food they've packed inside as a snack reward.

Activity 3: Dusting Contest
This quick activity alerts children to the need for dusting and shows them an instantly satisfying result.
Step 1 - Have your child name two pieces of wood furniture in your home. (If more than one child is involved, have each child name one piece of furniture.)

Step 2 - Ask them to guess which item they chose has more dust on it.

Step 3 - Give each child his or her own Pledge® Dry Cloths. (If just one child is participating, cut the cloth in half.)Tell the children to dust the piece of furniture they chose and bring the dusty cloths back for comparison. Be prepared to lend a helping hand if dusting is a new activity.

Step 4 - step 4CoImpare the cloths to see which item of wood furniture had the most dust. Don't forget to offer praise for a good job of dusting all the furniture!

Activity 4: Sort of Fun
Even young children can tell the difference between a piece of white clothing and a colored item.

Have your children sort the whites and colors in batches of dirty laundry, as you stand by to help along the way.

To add to this activity, make it a Stain Hunt. Encourage your children to spot stains in the clothes they sort. If there are any stains, have your children watch as you treat each stain with the a stain remover.  After you've washed the clothes, come back later to show kids how their efforts helped to create clean, fresh, stain-free clothes.

Activity 5: Make a Mission Board
You'll be using the job squares you created in activity 1 to make a Mission Board. The Mission Board is a daily reminder of the tasks each family member can do to help with the family mission of keeping your home clean and well organized.

Step 1 - Take a corkboard (or a piece of display board thick enough to hold thumbtacks). Place the corkboard in a busy part of the house.

Step 2 - Choose a zip-top sandwich bag, for each family member and write each person's name on the front of the bag with a permanent marker.

Step 3 - Tack each sandwich bag to the corkboard, so that slips of paper can be easily inserted and removed from the bag.

Step 4 - Add one extra bag to the corkboard and write the word DONE on it in big, bold letters.

Step 5 - Once each child has his or her own bag on the Mission Board, place each child's job squares in the appropriate sandwich bag. Let the kids choose the jobs they want first, and pull out the chores only an adult can do. Keep going until all the job squares are distributed fairly.

Your Mission Board is a constant reminder of what needs to be done around the house. The clear plastic bags allow each member to see how many tasks have been completed and how many jobs remain to be finished. You can make this an ongoing project by adding new jobs to each child's bag as they arise.

Wrapping Up
Present each child with a final reward for the day's activities (if you chose to use rewards). Your reward is teaching a valuable lesson about how work can be honorable, practical...and fun!

Optional Rewards
You might want to give kids rewards for taking part, such as:
•    Snacks like small candies, crackers, or fruit snacks for completing each activity.
•    A fun, inexpensive toy.
•    A trip to the playground, the movies, or a bike ride.

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