A few years ago when we were first developing our Family Economy System I was
asking my sister what methods had worked best for her? She is a Mother to seven
children and I know that there is always strength in asking those around you what
has worked for them. One thing I know for certain is that you need to have a
system that is flexible enough to adapt to your family’s ages and stages or
simply mix things up a bit to keep things interesting.
She immediately suggested that I do “zone cleaning.” She told me that kids get
confused easily with chores changing too often and will assign an area of the
house to her kids for a while. Examples of a zone could be: family room,
bathroom, kitchen, halls/stairways, or the basement.
Not all zones have to be an entire room. Some of these zones are harder than
others so you may want to consider dividing up a zone that gets dirty often into
smaller zones such as: toilet, sink, or the shower. Depending on the age of your
child they could have a small zone area in the bathroom daily and a large zone
area like a family room.
What makes the zone cleaning system so effective?
Your child will take ownership of this area
Your child will keep their eye on others and the way they treat the space. They
aren’t going to want to have their brother come and leave a big mess in the
living room knowing they’ll have to clean it up later.
You can keep your child’s zone the same for a week or even a month if it seems
to be going well
Your child will learn how to clean that space more effectively each time they
What is so great about the Work Stars Family Economy System is that you can adapt
it and use the zone system for any of the chores – especially for the kid’s or
parent’s choice. Give your child some ownership of what they are cleaning and
you can even award them extra stars if you wish for keeping their area clean.
They will notice that once their zone is clean they will want to keep it that way
and that creates a lot less nagging for you as the parent which is ALWAYS a good
By using the zone system you can even let your kids draw their “zones” out of a
hat and make sure that no one gets the same zone twice in a row. You could also
create a zone wheel that you rotate on a weekly/monthly basis to make sure the
zones are fair – The zone separation could be determined together as a family so
that everyone feels it is a good separation of chores. Sometimes it’s good to
add something “new” to the System to keep your kids motivated.
Zone cleaning can also be taken on by the parents too. I know when my children
are asked to do something and they see that I am doing it right alongside them
they are much more likely to join in. My son grumbles when I ask him to make his
bed and he knows I haven’t made mine…which I have tried to do a better job of
doing myself. Turn on some funky music and have some fun!