She Wanted To Help Me

How did it get so messy? Does a pack of wild animals live here?

Big sigh

We were all picking up toys and clutter 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.

We are a team in our household. Keeping the house clean and organized is not just mom’s job. It’s everyone’s job. Because we all live here.

We don’t clean the house to make mom happy. We clean and declutter the house so we can find what we need and don’t get ants.

Everyone participates 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.
to help me

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).

Build routines around decluttering and cleaning.

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.

Everything has a home, so it’s easy to put things away.

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.

Spend some time this week talking with your family about how to start working together to keep the house functioning. Pick one of the above ideas and put it into action!