Welcome to the seventh installment of my Teach Them Diligently series. If you’re new here and would like to see the other topics, click below.
One of my goals for this year is to continue teaching my children some skills to make them more independent of me. A focus of our learning around here is to take full advantage of all the learning we can in and around the home. In addition to math, science, and languages, I feel it’s my duty to help my children learn to care for their own needs.
Each month of this year, I am focusing on a different skill/chore and taking my time to instruct my children. This isn’t earth-shattering news. These aren’t difficult skills. No doubt generations of mothers before me have been doing this since the dawn of time. I have been slowly showing and teaching my children these things since they were tiny.
First it was to put away toys into baskets and bins and over the years that has evolved into doing their own laundry, loading and emptying the dishwasher, and making their own beds. As they are growing, so, too, should their level of involvement around the house.
Our kids do earn “commissions” for a few set chores each week, but the skills we are working on this year are “just because” skills. They will learn to clean their own bathroom because this “hotspot” in the house gets lots of use (mostly by them) and knowing how to properly clean a bathroom will be a skill that lasts a lifetime.
Over the years, I have helped the kids in their bathroom and I have shown them how to clean their bathroom on more than one occasion. This time, my intent was to review the steps and procedures with the end goal of totally turning over that space to Mae, Kate, and Thomas as their own to maintain.
Step 1: Write it out and make it plain.
I have a particular order I like them to follow. There’s nothing scientific to it other than I don’t especially want my kiddos wiping the underside of the toilet lid and then using that same yucky sponge to wipe the sink handles.
2. Review the steps.
Walk the children through the process. Let them ask questions. Clarify. Make certain expectations are clear.
3. Provide adequate supplies.
I wanted to make up a small basket of supplies to keep in the kids’ bathroom so that they always have what they need all in one place. I spent about $5 at the dollar store and got the kiddos set up with disposable cloths and latex gloves, scrub brushes (that I labeled), and toilet cleaner. I also added extra trash bags, paper towels, and tub and mirror cleaner.
It’s important that they have the necessary supplies. Even if it seems wasteful to purchase disposable cloths and rubber gloves, I’d rather spend a few dollars more and know that they’ve done the job correctly and in a sanitary way.
4. Go sit on your couch.
As the old proverb says,
“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Give a kid a toilet brush, you’ll never have to clean their bathroom again.”