A few weeks ago, we were all picking up the house so that we could more thoroughly clean it. My 5-year-old daughter refused to participate. She’s 5. She’s stubborn and she’s not going to do anything she doesn’t want to do.
So I let it go and we all moved on.
A little while later, I hear her saying she’s cleaning up to help me. Because mom needs it.
Now, I understand that often our kids do stuff around the house to help mom. Mom’s the one who manages the chores and house cleaning (more on why this is a problem at a later date.
But I didn’t like the way she said this. I didn’t like that she was only doing it because mom was mad.
My kids need to learn how to pick up after themselves. And participating in a team (family) is a life skill. Helping is a lifeskill. So it cleaning up after yourself. Our kids need to know how to do this stuff on their own.
We need to all participate in keeping the house functioning.
Here are some ideas to get everyone involved:
- Make it fun. Don’t tell your kid to go clean their room. Their brains will shut down and it won’t happen.
- Help them play the seek and sort game.
- Turn it into a game. We play basketball with my kids’ laundry. You can do the same with any toys that go into a bin. (side note, don’t use bins with lids.
- Have kids race against you (never against each other. Siblings are already competitive enough). See if they can put something away faster than you.
- Make it easy to put things away. (Lids add one more step).
- Have special time with them first.
- Do something fun together as a family once you’re done.
If your kids are older, these same guidelines apply. Get them to participate. Ask them how they want to participate (and skipping out is not an option).
Keep it small. We clean half the house each weekend so it’s not overwhelming. We pick up most of the mess each day so it doesn’t get overwhelming.
How cluttered your house gets is up to you and those who live there. What is your level of acceptance of mess? I don’t have the energy for a spotless house every day. I do like a weekly reset. Figure out what works for your family.