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Happy New Year! With New Years comes the inevitable New Years Resolutions! Besides going to the gym on a regular basis, one of the most common resolutions is to start keeping a cleaner house. To me, this one might be just as tough, or tougher than the going to the gym commitment. After all, with the gym, it’s just you involved. With keeping a clean house there is the whole family involved! You can swear to keep everything neat and tidy, but then your husband dumps his sports equipment bag in the hall (and that odour of smelly runners or cleats and socks is a whole other story!) or the kids tear through the toy room and it is trashed in 5 seconds flat. To say that can undermind your new resolution is an understatement! It’s like you are fighting uphill everyday, which might be good for the gym, but not for keeping the house clean!
But why not turn it around? Why not get the people making the mess help clean up the mess? Sure, they won’t be willing participants, however, if you think about the positive outcomes that can happen it might just be worth the battle to get their help. Need a little help? How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution can help you keep those hard to keep resolutions!
But back to the kids. First of all, think of what this teaches the little people in your life. A sense of responsibility, organizational skills, how to follow instructions and how to clean up after themselves. Oh, I’m not crazy! It won’t be easy. In fact, they are likely to fight you every step of the way. But once it becomes a habit for them, it will lessen your workload and you can have the satisfaction of having taught them important life lessons!
Here are a few tried and true things the kids can help with that aren’t too difficult, but will take a load off your housekeeping plate!
- Loading and unloading the dishwasher. Even if they are small and can only do one plate at a time and have to put it on the counter rather than the cupboard, this helps them to understand that these things don’t happen magically. Someone has to do it. As a precaution, this might be a good time to invest in some “break resistant” dishes.
- Making their bed – It might not be the tidiest job ever, but making their bed is a great habit to get into and their skill will improve over time.
- Taking their dirty laundry to the laundry room – This is helpful in more than one way. It means they are picking up the clothes off their bedroom floor instead of you having to do it. That’s a win-win in my books!
- Pick up their toys when they are finished with them – This is a battle every parent faces! If you make a rule that one thing must be put away before they take something else out, they will start to understand the importance of organization and tidy spaces.
- Feeding Pets (with supervision) – Allow them to fill the dog or cat’s food dish each day. Depending on their age, changing the pet’s water may be an option as well. If you need extra tips on keeping your home with pets clean, take a look at Clean Homes & Pet Life
- Help clear the table – For older kids, they can help clear everything and put it away, while younger children may only be expected to take their own plate to the counter.
- Take out the garbage – they will hate it, but so do you! This will help teach them that not everything they have to do in life will be enjoyable. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and do it anyway!
- Cooking, Vacuuming, sweeping and laundry – These are all great jobs for teens. It teaches them self-reliance and gives you a good break!
- Cleaning the bathroom – for a younger child this may mean a damp rag they can wipe the counters with, but for older children, they can help with a full on cleaning.
- Hang up coats and put shoes away – Instead of the heap on the floor and tripping over shoes that tends to happen, teach your kids to hang up their coats and put their shoes away neatly in the closet.
Just a few precautions as you start this venture with kids. First, don’t give them too many directions at once. This will just confuse them. Second, make sure to make eye contact – if they aren’t looking right at you, there is a good chance they are not listening as well as they could.
And finally, you do need to take into account that they are still a child. They should be capable of doing the above chores, and should be expected to contribute to the household to some extent. But they’re still children. They need time to play, to be creative, to study, and to socialize with their friends. Those activities also teach them valuable life skills.
So, by all means give your kids chores. But don’t expect them to be your housekeeper. You have us for that! Get a free quote! We have schedules to fit everyone’s needs!