Posted in cleaning, family, habits and routines, organizing, routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

Cleaning with Kids

We have all heard that “Cleaning with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”! It’s funny, can be true, but it doesn’t have to be.

What if I told you that you can have toddlers, teens and in between and still have a clean house without screaming and yelling. In fact, don’t do that! That will most likely defeat the purpose.

Is it hard work? It can be at first, but mostly the hard part is the training yourself and being consistent. The hard work is not you running around following all the children and picking up after them or nagging them non stop!

The key is routine, habits, consistency and discipline. (For you and your children).

Be an example. If you don’t make your bed, take care of your coat when you come home, or put your shoes away….. Why would they? I can’t stress this enough. Children do what you do, not what you say.

Let them see you clean your bathroom, do the dishes right after dinner, take the trash out, etc. Always put your things away before doing something else and always go to bed with a clean and tidy room. Let them see your routines and good habits.

I have heard all too often that when your kids are little it’s ok to have a messy house. Is it? What life skills are you teaching them? Let them see what work is. Impart a good work ethic. Have them help! You are not denying them time with you. You are teaching them something invaluable for life just by letting them see you have good habits. It’s ok to make them wait a minute. When they want something and you are just finishing the dishes, it is ok to say ” Ok, honey. I will get that for you as soon as I am finished.” Learning a bit of patience and noticing that other people are doing things are important for them too.

Let them know what is expected of them. Outline for them what they are supposed to do and when. Make a chart, Send them a list that they keep on their phone. Tell them that you expect them to clean up their toys after each activity. Tell them they are responsible to make their bed. Tell them they are to do homework immediately after school. Be specific. Have an attitude that tells them that you believe in them. If they think you don’t think they will do it, they won’t. If you don’t tell them it is expected of them, they won’t do it.

Break it down. Kids, and for that matter big people, come in all different personality types. I can tell a room full of 2-3-year-olds to clean up and I am going to see a lot of different responses. Some will start putting things away in all the wrong places, some will walk around dazed and confused with a toy in hand, some will pick up a toy to put away and then forget and start playing with it. Sometimes there is even that kid that eagerly puts everything away in the right places after the other kids have dumped them in all wonky.

You can’t send that kid that picks up the toy and starts playing with it to his room when he is 10 and expect him to clean the giant mess on his own. Not happening. Most kids need some guidance. Even if you can’t stand there in the room, you can break it down for them. “Go pick up all your books and put them in the shelf and then come tell me when that is done.” “Now go find all the legos and put them in the box.” You are teaching them great problem-solving and organizing skills this way without overwhelming them.

Assume the best of them. If they left their backpack on the couch, just say, matter-of-factly, “Susan you must have forgotten to put your backpack away, I know you are normally good about that. Would you please take care of that?) They will respond better to that than telling them once again they have failed just like you thought. Not that you would say it that way, but they often hear that. This way they are still hearing what you expect of them and that you believe they are well-intentioned and worthy of trust. They will try to rise to that.

Be the parent. “She wouldn’t let me do her hair.” I couldn’t get him to put his coat on.” “All they will eat is chicken nuggets so that is what I have to make.” This might not make me very popular but, be the parent. When they are told to pick up the toys, they need to do it. If they are told to sit at the table all through dinner, they need to do it. Kids don’t know what is best, they don’t know what is good for them. That is why God gave them parents to teach them and train them.

If I rob a convenience store and the cops show up and say “Freeze! ” and I don’t….. Do you think they are going to shrug and say “She wouldn’t do what we said.”? Or will they offer me a candy bar and say if you freeze you can have this! No, I am going to get a really quick lesson in consequences!

It is not fair to let our kids go through childhood thinking that if they throw a fit or refuse to do things that they get their way. Life just isn’t like that. I won’t get on a political soapbox, but let’s just say I believe that is a lot of why our country is the way it is today.

Consequences for not obeying, refusing to listen will nip those in the bud. You have to be consistent though. If you aren’t …. well, kids know. Having to dish out a consequence a few times to have your kid respect what you say is so much kinder than forever after nagging, yelling and the constant power struggle. Better for both of you! Your child obeying you the first time you say something might just save his life someday. You are the parent! You are in charge.

Kids respect what you inspect.  You do need to have a good expectation of your kids, but if you never check to make sure they have followed through on what is expected, they WILL notice. At 15, you obviously don’t have to check to see if he’s brushing his teeth ( I hope) but at 6 you sure do. Your 8-year-old child still needs reminders and supervision to get morning routines done and get off to school. Kids need to have homework checked. You show your kids that you are interested and that you care by checking to see they’ve done what is expected.

Praise for a job well done. When kids hear praise for what they did well, they want to continue doing it. That goes for all people, little ones and big ones! When your two-year-old puts his toys back, tell him how great a job he did! When she “makes” her bed, tell her how proud you are of her. (Don’t fix it… at least not in front of her!) If your teen cleans her room, tell her it looks nice!

I personally don’t believe in an allowance for daily things that are expected. Those are things that are just part of life for us and for them. If you want to teach the value of money and work then pay them for extra things like raking leaves, pulling weeds, that sort of thing. No one pays me for brushing my teeth and making my bed. Paying them for things like that gives them the idea they are doing it for YOU, not because it is just a life skill.

Give grace. be kind, be thoughtful. Have you ever had a really rough day? Of course. We all have! On those days that you didn’t seem to get anything done and things just didn’t go as planned, wouldn’t it be nice if someone took one of those things off your list for you and did it?

When your little one is having a harder day than usual; when the kids at school called her names or the spelling test was harder than she thought, be thoughtful and help her tidy her room before bed or turn her bed down for her.

Remember what it was like to be a teenager? I do! It was the worst thing EVER. Teens go through so much! The stress of changing hormones that they don’t even understand, horrible peer pressure, self-esteem is tough, other teens are not the least bit kind. They are required to make huge life decisions, do an enormous amount of difficult school work and do it well to get into schools they want to get into plus hold jobs too! It is a LOT!

When your teen is having a particularly rough day and they rushed out without making their bed, make it for them! Do a load of laundry and put it away for them! Make them feel that home is a safe place to be. A place where they feel loved and accepted even if they don’t quite get all their chores done now and then. Of course, respect their space. Make home a place they want to be.

By teaching your children the skills to organize and clean and giving them grace and love when they need it you are giving them the skills and character to be amazing successful people that this world so needs!

Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Blessings! XOXOXO

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Posted in cleaning, family, food, organizing, planning, Tips and Tricks

Work Smart, Not Hard

This was a lot of work.  It was a labor of love. Nothing good comes without some hard work.  If you ask my granddaughter or daycare kiddos, this playset is VERY good!  They are delighted.  This is going to bring hours of happiness and memories.

swing set collage

Work is a good thing!  A good work ethic is something to be admired, rewarded and something we strive for in our place of employment and at home.  God made us to need to work.  We would be very unfulfilled without work.  God worked!  God worked for 6 days when he made the earth and then He rested.  Do I think He needed to rest? Nope.  Not at all.  God made us in His image so I believe He was simply showing us how to pattern our lives.   We need to have a balance in our lives between work, rest and play.

work smart

Work doesn’t stop when you clock out.  It just changes form. There is no getting around the fact that there is work involved in a clean house.  Good habits and routines will drastically reduce the amount of housekeeping that has to be done, but let’s face it, the vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing toilets still have to happen.

I am going to share some tips with you to help you work smart, not hard, to get that work done and still have time for rest and play.

 

team

Enlist help. Like my husband did with the swing set, get the family to help you Kids, even little ones can help.  The bigger ones definitely should help! Your children need to learn to work. It’s a life skill they will appreciate learning! (Eventually!) They need to learn how rewarding a “job well done” is.  How nice it feels to have a clean room and how proud you feel of your home when it is clean.  I, personally, don’t feel that rewards or allowance for doing household chores is beneficial.  I don’t get paid to clean my house.  The reward comes from feeling good about the job you did.  Teach them to take the time to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

 

fun

2. Make it fun.  Whether it is just you or the whole family involved in cleaning, make it fun! Make it a good time rather than drudgery.  If you hate it, your family will pick up on that.  Why would they want to help do something that is clearly a terrible thing?  Fake it till you make it if you have to! Put on some music dance with the broom, sing loud and silly!  Do whatever it takes to make it fun.

When my kids were elementary school age,  we made it a game.  I wrote every chore that needed to be done on an index card. I broke the chores down into very specific things.  “Clean upstairs bathroom tub”,  “Clean downstairs bathroom toilet”, “Mop kitchen”, etc.  The index cards were placed upside down on the kitchen table and mixed up.  A bell was in the middle of the table.  We all gathered around the table.  I would ring the bell and start a stopwatch.  We all grabbed a card and ran to do the chore on our card as fast as possible.  When the chore was done it was placed in a discard pile, you got to ring the bell and then grab another card. It was wild and hilarious! I am sure we looked ridiculous running like crazy people through the house, breathless,  tripping over the vacuum, running into each other, the bell ringing loudly and often.  The person with the last card got to make crazy noise with the bell and stop the stopwatch.  Housekeeping got done in generally less than twenty minutes! Crazy, right?  And it was FUN!  It may not have been done perfectly but it was done, everyone was happy and we could go spend our day doing something really fun and come back to a clean house.

calendar

3. Break it up.  Everyone’s life looks a little different.  For some doing a housekeeping game on Saturday morning with the family will work.  Now that my kids are adults, I have the housekeeping responsibilities myself.  I do not want to spend my Saturday cleaning all alone.  I choose to break up my chores and do one or two each day before or after work.  The things that may take longer I do on days that I usually have more time or more energy. Most things really don’t take all that long.  It always remains the same so I always know what day I am doing what.  Monday is laundry and vacuuming, Tuesday is bathroom day.  I clean the toilet, the tub and take out the trash and wash the bath towels. Wednesday is sweeping and mopping the house and menu planning.  Thursday is the kitchen and some miscellaneous things. I take Fridays to do anything I may not have been able to get done during the week or just take the day off!  That is just an example. You know your life and how that might look for you.

pays

4. Do It Weekly.  Don’t procrastinate and wait until you stick to the kitchen floor and the tub has a nasty ring around it.  Do it while it still looks clean!  It is so easy to clean a fairly clean tub in comparison to the full aerobic work out to clean a yucky one.  It is house “keeping”  rather than the house “cleaning”.   The goal is to maintain, not struggle to clean what is already dirty.  This saves a major amount of time!

hard work

We had some AMAZING Chicken Gyros the other night!  I love Gyros and love the traditional lamb, but these were a great switch and super light. Perfect for a summer evening on the patio with a wine spritzer and family to share it with.

Speaking of wine spritzers, if you haven’t had these, you should! YUM!

spritzers

Barefoot Refresh. Delish!

Here is the link to the Chicken Gyros.  We grilled them outside instead of baking in the oven.  Was fantastic!

Go check out a Bitchin’ Kitchen!

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyro

 

Please check out the program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!  I couldn’t do life without it!

Cook’n is an amazing tool!

Memories being made right here…..

brooklyn cutie