Owning a home requires both a financial commitment and a time commitment. Enlisting your kids in the ongoing upkeep of the home eases your burden a bit while also teaching them responsibility. Plus, working on household projects together definitely qualifies as quality family time.
Create a Monthly To-Do List
Introduce your kids to maintenance tasks at an early age. Around the age of 8, create a monthly to-do list with general household tasks and tackle a different one each weekend. We suggest you include the following on your list:
- Change air filters
- Check light bulbs and replace as necessary
- Change water filters
- Clean up the yard
Perform these tasks with your kids, turning items on the to-do list over to them completely when they reach the appropriate age. For example, you may want to wait until their teen years before having them change air filters on their own if doing so requires climbing a ladder. Same goes for changing light bulbs in ceiling fans and mowing the lawn.
Make Chores Part of an Allowance
Teach your kids responsibility and the value of a hard-earned dollar by putting a price on each task. For younger kids, decide on a small fee or negotiate the purchase of a prized item. For example, if your kids want a new video game, tell them exactly how many completed tasks it will take for them to get it. If they earn the game, they will appreciate it more than if it was simply given to them.
Attend Home-Improvement Workshops Together
Your local home improvement store regularly holds workshops regarding everything from building a toy box to staining a deck. Attend one as a family, then tackle the project together, with tasks assigned based on age and skill. For example, a younger child can help prep a deck for staining by sweeping it with a push broom, while a teen might be able to help with the actual application of stain.
Allow Your Kids to Observe
While you might be comfortable with your child performing the above tasks at the appropriate age, certain jobs still require the skills of a professional handyman. If you do have to hire a handyman to take care of work around the house, have your kids keep an eye on him. As long as they don't get in his way, he likely won't mind the company, and he certainly won't mind showing off his expertise to an audience. Clear this with the handyman ahead of time and ask if your kids can watch and ask questions.
No matter what the task or project, your kids will learn from it and be better prepared for when they eventually leave the nest. You don't want one of your kids leaving home without knowing the basics. On that note, one final tip: Buy each of your kids a toolbox and add tools as they grow up. That way, they won't come home to borrow your tools as a young adult and forget to return them to you.