I hope the last 11 days of this series has helped you even just a little. I have enjoyed posting and am excited to share lots next week from my kitchen complete with favorite cleaners, favorite recipes, and organization. But, today, I had to briefly post on a topic that is VERY important as a mommy with littles---chores! I know we have touched briefly in regards to keeping up with toys and a few other daily tips of what works for me in keeping up with my home, but I can’t stop there.
I often hear moms say they can’t keep up, they are overwhelmed, and their home is falling to pieces. I remember from when I was tiny my mom would teach us how to make our beds, clean our rooms, put our clothes away and more. I remember her teaching---and LOTS of it! There were 9 of us so the mess could have been huge, but I never remember that being the case. Instead I went into motherhood knowing some “secrets” in “keeping up” and training our littles to contribute in their home too. Here are a few suggestions that I hope you can get something from to help you teach your children to HELP…
Start teaching when your kids are young~ I hate it when mommas say, “They are too young to do that!” Hate is a strong word, I know, but this is true for me. Can I say, a few months old is too young, but 2 years old is not too young!!!! I know that my ways are not the best ways for you, but I must caution us to stop using that line as an excuse for our messy homes. Our children are not too young to pick up their toys and clean up the messes they create. If they are old enough to make the messes, they can help clean them. Now, I’m not talking about the 2 month old who makes a mess of their diaper and clothes, car-seat, and such. But, the 1 year old who throws a fit and unwraps the entire tp roll all over the floor CAN and MUST be taught to help clean it up. As they are little you can assist as a parent, but don’t use the excuse that they are too young, please!
Teach your 8 month old to put that toy back in the basket when he/she is done. You may have to lift it for them and place it in their hand and then dangle their hand over the basket til they let go, but that’s all part of training! Soon, they will just need to be told to “pick up their toys” and your physically assisting them will be minimal.
Teach consistently~I believe every child is different and you have to figure out each situation and child on your own. But, consistency is truly important in parenting and every walk of life. Being consistent with rules in regards to cleaning their rooms, making their beds and more should be something that becomes a habit for them.
Teach them to make their bed~ Can I share a big secret? Made beds make your house look much more put together! I did a post a few months back about the importance of our bedroom being the sanctuary for my husband and I. (Helpful tips) I believe when your children see that you aren’t willing to leave the mess piled high in your room they will enjoy seeing their beds nicely made at the beginning of the day too. As they are little help them! Then, as they begin to get older leave it alone and let them make it their way so they feel like they have accomplished something and can be proud of their job. I started helping Ella (1) drape her blanket on the side of the crib and even put her decorative pillows in the corner of her crib when she was 8 months. She loves it and it is teaching her that this is her bed and she can help mommy!
Teach them that they can have fun doing ANY task!~ I think all too often we go through our lists drudgingly and with little enthusiasm. Then we get frustrated and irritable when our children have little fits, unhappy hearts, and a plain enthusiastic attitude when given a task. Hmmm, I sense a bit of hypocrisy. I am guilty of it all too often, and it is something I am working hard at conquering. I love to clean though so that helps quite a bit. We make our tasks into games, challenges, and just plain fun. Help your children see that without them a happy and clean home cannot be accomplished----it CAN’T! My littles have become my right arms and have become my biggest “little” helpers ever.
Teach them that this is their home too~ Remind your children often that this is their home too. The furniture is furniture that God has provided for them to enjoy too. We have found often that when we approach chores this way that they see the importance of being careful of these items too.
Organize a plan of attack!~ I do not have a chore chart, but that may be something that works for you. I have had people ask if I give certain children days of duties like one has dishes Monday the other Tuesday, etc. My answer LOUD & CLEAR is NO! I grew up in a home where after meals we ALL jumped in and did the dishes and cleanup. It would take us 15 minutes max. If we had tried the 1 kid a day on dishes routine it would have taken each child hours to clean up after meals. I am under the philosophy if everyone contributes to the mess we ALL clean it up. This also eliminates comparing, disliking having company especially if they are present on your dish day, etc. I have found too that the kids HATE to do dishes then. My kids (7,5, and 3) love to do dishes, and I would like to keep it this way. We have a dish washer, but we do dishes by hand still almost every meal at least for some stuff.
Andrew and Chloe each clean a bathroom a day. They have become pretty great bathroom cleaners and I am thankful for the extra help. They had fun learning together and seem to enjoy it (so far) :)
Get your children involved in every way possible~ I know the dilemma of the feeling “I could do it so much faster and even better if I did it myself!” Ever thought or said that? I have many times. I am thankful though that I had to finally realize I needed help and I needed to diligently teach my littles in this way too. They need to see the importance of taking care of what God has blessed us with. Teach your kids to take out the trash, push a broom, vacuum a rug, wipe down a window, and scrub a floor. Teach them how to cross out groceries from off the list after the other places them in the cart. Teach them how to use a calculator to keep track in order to stay under budget. These seem like huge tasks, but honestly, they become easier the more you do them.
Can I say the biggest “secret” is that with my littles at my side helping me it gives me great JOY and excitement. It is fun knowing that I can ask for something to get done and I don’t have to be right their to do it for them.They will one day become a husband or wife, father or mother and a homemaker. I pray that I can adequately teach them so they can teach their littles one day too. What a responsibility we have to teach them how they can bring glory to God through their home too. Get them involved this week, my sweet mommy friends! I will be praying for each of you!