We’ve been doing this for years, and for some reason I finally thought to myself, “I should put this in a blog post.” I’m not even exactly sure why this works, though I have my theories. I call it the Sticky-Note method for getting kids to help around the house. Also known as a Post-it Note cleaning session. Grab a stack of Post-its and I’ll show you how it works.
It all starts with a big stack of Post-it notes and a Sharpie. We like to color coordinate by room but you certainly don’t have to. For each room you will be tackling, create a Post-it note for all the mini-jobs. You know, all the jobs you would be calling out and assigning if you were in drill sergeant mode. Instead, create a Post-it note for each one.
So, in the living room we have one for “clutter on the end table” and one for “stuff under the couches.” That kind of thing. Each sticky note is labeled by room, and we work together to complete each room before moving on.
Once your sticky notes are all ready to go, create a prominent display of them on a wall in a central location.
Now, you gather the family. Give each child a piece of paper with his/her name at the top. Its time to get started choosing and completing tasks. When a task is chosen, it gets pulled off the wall and placed on the sheet of paper for that child. When the task is complete, a new task can be chosen.
Certain tasks will need to be done in order (de-clutter before sweep, sweep before mop, etc.) so you can either number the tasks in order or just instruct the choosers as you go.
Remember, your goal is getting the kids to help around the house, not perfection. That being said, your job as overseer is to train/help when necessary, and approve completed tasks.
When all of the tasks have been completed, each child should have a paper covered in sticky notes that serves as a trophy of sorts.
Some of my kids like to neatly organize their stickies, and some like to make a giant piled mess. Older children may have fewer sticky notes because they took on harder tasks or helped their siblings along. The key is that everyone has proof of what they have finished, and it gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done.
At the end of a sticky-note cleaning session, my kids like to save their papers to proudly show Daddy.