Cleaning House {with LOTS of Help}

  I was just thinking a few Saturdays ago, as I cleaned house with 4 REALLY great helpers, how difficult it was.  I also thought how much easier it would be for me to do the cleaning while they were all at school, allllllll by myself.  It would be faster, and sometimes, when I know we have a busy weekend, I will do just that. 

HOWEVER, 99 times out of 100, we do it…..  

ALLLLL of us.

  Do you know how hard it is, to find jobs for 4 really great helpers?

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It’s all I can do sometimes to keep everyone going, but we do it faithfully.  Know why?

  Because as the mom, it is my job to bring up my children to know how to work.  To feel the sense of accomplishment for a job well done.  To create a daily habit of bed making, room tiding, to make a habit of weekly cleaning.
To teach them how to vacuum correctly, wash windows, dust and mop.  Even scrub toilets.

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If I don’t take the time to train them, who will?

  I like Big Picture Parenting. Or Intentional Parenting.  I spend a lot of my time thinking ahead of how such and such will affect my children in the future. That is why I stand by my conviction, that my children age 2-9, can absolutely carry part of the load of household chores. 

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  Most of the time, they love to help!  And, sometimes we even FIGHT over whose turn it is to vacuum. 

And if we aren’t careful, someone gets his toe pinched when he tries to release the vacuum tab all by himself.  Hmm, guess that’s why Mommy said WAIT?

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Other chores we do together:

Laundry

Sorting and starting loads. Folding and Putting away.

Sometimes its just the little 2, sometimes they are all home.  Whoever is home, is the helper.

Laundry collage

  When the laundry is sorted, they can go play.  Once I have finished all the loads, folded and placed the items neatly in each persons basket, the children then come to help sort and fold socks.  Then EVERYONE helps put their own basket of clothes away.  Eventually, I will make them help fold clothes too, but for now, this works.

Daily Chores include:

Unloading the Dishwasher

{this is for whomever is home that morning}

  We start our dishwasher helpers a little before they turn two.  They can easily help with silverware sorting. 

  Destiny came up with a great job rotation: bottom rack person goes to top, top rack person goes to silverware, silverware person goes to bottom.  They all have a job that way!  Paxton always does what we call “easy silverware”.  That means when the utensil rack is empty except for basic dinnerware, it’s HIS turn to help. He does such a good job sorting 2 sizes of forks, 2 sizes of spoons, butter knives and kids silverware, that I no longer even have to stand around and help him.

You will find this to be true with a lot of jobs, train now, and suddenly in the future, they can do it on their own while you help another child.

Chore collage 2

Gathering Eggs

  Everyone takes turns with this chore.  It’s easy and fun!  While they are outside getting eggs, they must check the chickens water bowl.  Then, when they come back in the garage, they are to sort the eggs and put them in cartons. 

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Setting & Clearing the Table

Everyone has to take a turn setting the table and filling ice waters with me. This is a great opportunity to teach them to set a tidy table, with silverware where they belong etc.  They also must clear their own plate when lunch or dinner is done, and wipe down their area of the table, catching the crumbs in their hands and throwing them away. NOT on mom’s clean floor! Smile

  The bigger kids can rinse their own plates and load the dishwasher.  As long as the little two bring over their dinner plates, I don’t mind doing the rinsing and loading.  Again, this can all be changed as they get older, I am happy with the level of help they can complete easily for now.

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   Here are some keys to this process:

We remind them to work as if working for the Lord in whatever task they have to do!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord….” Colossians 3:23

  Once the chores are done, it’s Play TIME! I want them to go have fun and be kids.  To know how good it feels to have worked together to complete our tasks.

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Here are some age appropriate chores from a previous blog post on Chores, we start ours earlier than this age bracket, but I think it will give you a general idea:

Ages 2 to 5
Work alongside your children to help them perform simple chores like putting dirty clothes in the hamper, sorting laundry into color-coded piles, making their beds and feeding pets.

Ages 6 to 8
Children can dust and vacuum, put away their clothes, empty wastebaskets, set and clear the table, care for pets and help with some yard work.

Ages 9 to 12
Kids can unpack groceries, load and unload the dishwasher, mop the floor, fold laundry, wash the car, and help prepare simple meals.

  Most child-development experts agree that children shouldn’t be paid for household chores, which are part of contributing to family life.

Here are some tips for a positive chore experience at your house from Dr. Dobson:

Give kids ownership:  Have a family meeting and enlist the help of your children in selecting the chores they want to do.  Also have them participate in selecting the consequences for chores not performed in a timely manner.  Let kids know expectations ahead of time.

Use “shaping” to teach tasks:  First, let children watch you perform a chore as you talk through it step by step.  The next time, let children perform one part of the chore.  Each time, give kids a little more responsibility until they’re ready to tackle the chores alone.

Use language cues to spur self-reflection and responsible behavior:  Say “I see books on the floor” rather than giving a direct command.  That helps kids make decisions and reduces any defiance.

Offers encouragement:  Always thank children for their contributions and offer genuine praise for their efforts.  Instead of saying, “Your room looks good,” say, “Thank you for working so hard to put your clothes and toys in their proper place.”

  The key here is not to expect perfection! When Destiny was a little girl, I had to learn not to go tidy her bed after she made it.  Wrinkled or not, she had done her best and worked SO hard on it!  By fixing it in front of her, I was showing her that her best wasn’t good enough.

  I thank God that He allowed me to see her crest-fallen face and slumped shoulders once, early on, so He could open my eyes to what this was saying to her.

Doing chores is not always welcomed, but if you face it with a smile on your face and a cheerful heart, your children will soon learn to work hard, so they can play hard later.  They will learn the value of chores and responsibility!

On days they DO NOT want to help or have a bad attitude about it, we remind them of this verse taken from Philippians 2:14-15:

“Do everything without arguing or complaining, so that you might become a child of God…..”

Now those are some good words to chore by!

~T