Power Hour – The Best Parenting Idea This Summer

In a conversation about our children and summer time, my friend Lisa shared with me the best parenting idea I have heard in a long, long time.

She said she leaves a little chore for her three children to do with the babysitter every day of summer.  It could be  a small chore like cleaning, washing dishes, weeding the garden, or even a homework sheet that they must accomplish and should only take about an hour.  Then, the rest of the day is their free time.  It is simple, yet brilliant!  The children still carry on with some responsibility and accountability and then are rewarded with regular summer time freedom.  It is not too much to ask of them and when she comes home, there may be a few things already stroked off her to-do list.

I adopted this idea and adapted it to our family.  I am home this summer and I have a lengthy to-do list mostly pertaining to cleaning and organizing this disaster house.  My children and I have committed to “Power Hour” as we call it.  Every day we are going to do one hour of cleaning as a team.  You can actually accomplish a lot in one hour if you think about it.  I have written a different area of the house on each week day of the calendar (we take weekends off).  For example, bathroom, living room, van, closet, bedroom, etc.

We started with the downstairs bathroom.  Since our two-year old isn’t really that helpful, my older three children spell off taking turns playing with him while the remaining two children and I start to clean.  There is always three people working at a time.  I taught the boys how to clean the toilet (um, why haven’t I done this already?) and my daughter helped with the sink and counter top while I worked on the shower.  I was surprised how little they complained and how fast the hour went.  Their Dad was super pleased when he came home to a clean washroom and they were proud to show off their work.  I have noticed the boys are actually trying to keep the toilet seat clean now.  It’s not perfect (they are boys after all) but I think it is helping.

I like the idea that we just do a little each day.  I often find cleaning so overwhelming that I procrastinate.  With the “power hour” plan, it is a manageable task, I have the help I need, and then we can focus on the fun summer activities we would rather be doing.  By the end of the summer, the house should be a little cleaner and Mom will be a lot happier.

Do you have a great parenting idea?  Share in the comments below.

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  1. This is a great idea! In the summer we do “family weeding time,” so we set the timer for 30 minutes (because it’s hot outside, we would die if it were an hour) and pick one section of our yard/walkway/garden beds/flower beds and all weed together. When the timer goes off, my kids get their wheelbarrow (a little kid-sized one, best invention ever) and dump the weeds on the side of our property. A lot gets accomplished if we’re consistent about it. Too bad the weeds grow so fast.

  2. Wow, that’s definitely something I would love to implement in my house! I think it can be a lot of fun too, plus you can create a really good bond with your kids while working together. So, definitely, a must-try thing. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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