Shouldn't You at Least Try?

Real Estate Agent with Russell Real Estate Services

Cleaning a house while children are growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing.  I've seen this quote attributed to both Erma Bombeck and Phyllis Diller, both great comedians in their own sense. But, shouldn't you at least try?Shovel

It continues to snow here in NW Ohio and many children are enjoying yet another snow day.  "How", do you say, "am I supposed to keep my house show ready when there are toys and games everywhere?"  A daunting challenge for sure.  

One of the tools I've successfully used before is the Children's Contract.  We need to take into account whether the children are old enough to understand that there is going to be a good change in their life, and how they are going to be allowed to be a part of the process.  

I like the children to be present when their parents sign the listing agreement so they can see that their parents are invested and then I create one just for them.

It includes things like:

I will straighten my bed every morning and keep my big toys in just one room

girlI will help mom pick up my toys every night before bedtime or whenever she tells me we are getting "company"

I will wipe the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink and pick up my towel every day.

I like to put their name on it and let them add one task that they might suggest to personalize it and then let them "sign" it.

Each time I come to visit, I bring a small toy or special treat to reward them for their cooperation and help.  Sometimes, mom adds a shiny star for a job well done (it still works).

It's not a perfect or fool proof solution by any means, but it's a good place to start.

Posted by


Mary M. Kandell                                             
ABR, CNE                                               
Russell Real Estate

It Starts With the Heart 


6203 Milan Rd. Sandusky, OH   44870

 419-239-4140  Cell



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Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Mary, I wish you had been over at our house about10 years ago to present that list to my kids. It might have saved me from 10 years of toothpaste wiping.

Jan 12, 2011 02:16 AM #1
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Mary, I like the idea of getting the kids involved and having them sign their own contract...good idea!

Jan 12, 2011 02:16 AM #2
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Mary, This is for sure out of the box thinking...but sounds like a great idea!

Jan 12, 2011 02:21 AM #3
Mary M. Kandell
Russell Real Estate Services - Sandusky, OH

Hi Cameron,  it is the little things that make the difference isn't it?  I bet your kids are doing a better job of cleaning up the toothpaste now---10 years later, right?  It never got better at my house.  Now that they are grown they have a whole different outlook on the toothpaste in the sink thing :)

Karen and Cindy, the Kid's Contract idea came from Coach Jackie Leavenworth with Keller Williams in Cleveland.  I just adapted it for my own families and their special interests.  It's a great way to make the kids feel they have some control over the process.  I think so often they feel left out of the loop.  Thanks for commenting

Jan 12, 2011 03:13 AM #4
Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY

I agree.  My sons and I played a little game called rewards or consequences when they were small - it contained lists of everyday behaviors and a few expected tasks.  They held me to the task list as well!

Jan 12, 2011 03:33 AM #5
Mary M. Kandell
Russell Real Estate Services - Sandusky, OH


Rewards and Consequences sounds like a good game.  What were some of your rewards and some of your consequences?

Jan 12, 2011 06:00 AM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Mary- I like the idea of the contract.  It also gives the children a sense of participation in the whole moving process.  Most particularly, I like your title... Shouldn't You at Least Try? 

Jan 12, 2011 06:44 AM #7
Mary M. Kandell
Russell Real Estate Services - Sandusky, OH

Hi Kathy, 

Thanks for commenting.  Too often parents feel overwhelmed by the whole "house selling process".  Add kids and stuff and you can create the perfect storm.  I think most kids want to know they have a say and that their opinion counts.


Jan 12, 2011 08:11 AM #8
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