A couple weeks ago I bartered for house cleaning services and my house was whipped into shape. I absolutely LOVE getting up to sparkly floors and NO toys on the floor. Gone were the days of pretending that the kids toys, books, and clothing all over the floor was actually a burglary early warning system. BUT after everything was super clean I started to notice every little thing that was carelessly tossed or dirtied without cleaning up afterwards. I would seethe upon finding the sink full of dishes after dinner from the night before since we have always agreed to a “the cook doesn’t clean” policy. When someone “put away” the clean clothes from the dryer by throwing them on the desk nearby I thought I was going to implode soon. Rather than implode I opted to request… no, insist… I get help.
I have always loved that poem about letting things get dirty while you raise your babies because you won’t get that time back… you know the one I am talking about? But my kids are getting older and I spend all day with them already so now I got to thinking that it was time to start keeping things clean AND having them take responsibility for their own messes. But I have always resisted chores. I guess it is because I really only had one chore growing up (dishes) and the only other families I knew who had “chores”… well sorry but to me it looked like lazy parents who sat on their butts while the kids did all the cleaning. I remember being at their houses while the parents sat in recliners barking orders while kids scrubbed toilets and mopped floors, all the while listening to lectures about how they (the parents) have jobs and kids are leeches. I swore I would never do that to my kids…that I would adopt a “get off your butt” style of parenting and not make my kids be my servants. And yet here I was needing their help.
I still think the best way to teach kids something is by modeling it. They have no idea how hard you work at your job they only know what they see when they are with you. So the solution to my problem was obvious. We would all clean together.
I sat everyone down and told them about a new 15 minute clean-up we would be having every evening. Every member of the family would have to pitch in and help, we would throw on some on groovy dance music while we worked, and the kids would be paid for their help. The result has been miraculous.
Each child has a specific area to clean up…my daughter picks up in the living room and hallway and wipes down the kitchen table, my oldest son picks up in the den and vacuums or sweeps the den and kitchen, and my youngest is given random tasks. If I cooked than hubby cleans the kitchen while I dust the house and clean up desks, bookshelves, sort laundry, etc. We reverse that if he cooks. In the evening when they are in bed I usually mop the kitchen floor and the living room. Some nights they are grumpy or tired and ask why they have to do this and I just say that we makes messes together so we need to clean up together.
Every evening the house gets cleaned and I am so thrilled! If only I could find a solution for their bedrooms.
Do you have chores in your home? Why of why not? What works for you?