I’d rather live in a pig-sty.

Getting kids to clean up

The CRUNCH:
I’d rather live in a pig-sty.

CRUNCH deets:
Your kitchen sink has so much grime caked on, you’re stacking dirty dishes on the burnt-food-encrusted stove. You’re starting a mould experiment in the shower, are afraid to lift up the toilet seat, and keep the bedroom doors closed to avoid seeing the mess. You’ve used a cleaning service before, but for the amount it cost you weren’t overly impressed. However, compared to your house, a barn would feel like Club Med and you desperately need a way to hold onto your money AND peace of mind.

The Fix:
Get organized and make it fun.

Fix deets:
Make a list of the essential cleaning tasks that have to happen daily, weekly, and every two weeks. We’re talking bare minimum: bathrooms, kitchen, dusting, vacuuming, and sheets. The daily tasks are ones that take a minute or two if done every day or two, but, if left longer, require a fair amount of elbow grease. For example wipe down the kitchen counter and sink while you wait for your coffee to brew (before that sink has filled up with the day’s dishes). Something as minor as wiping the sink can go a long way in terms of keeping your house cleaner, longer. Armed with your new list, divide your house into two zones (upstairs and downstairs work perfectly if you have two floors) and focus on one zone each week.

Assign one of the more time-consuming chores (for example, dusting the bedrooms) to each day of the two-week cycle, and choose a time when you can dedicate fifteen minutes to that chore. Plan it so your kids can help some, but not all, of the time. They’ll LOVE being given a duster or spray bottle, and will actually get excited if you let them use a Swiffer. You’ll have to go over the spots they’re “cleaning” but that’s okay because if you put music on and keep it fun, no one will mind working for longer than fifteen minutes. Have you ever played parachutes with your preschooler while changing the beds? You’ll never want to change sheets any other way again. Babies will also love getting involved, even if they’re only watching from the sidelines of your sling.

But of course, chores are called chores for a reason. You don’t want to force your kid to do chores every single day; they’ll recognize you’re not really having fun any more. And even though you can green up your cleaning products for the kids to use, there’s only so much you can do to jazz up cleaning a toilet. Save the really grungy chores to do alone – who says you never treat yourself?

If you incorporate daily tidying into your routine you’ll find your house stays clean enough and the “deep cleans” every two weeks won’t take longer than fifteen minutes. So take an extra minute to wipe down the kitchen counters and sink, wipe the bathroom countertop while keeping one eye on the kids splashing in the tub, and tidy up the clutter at the end of each day. Then you don’t have to waste time putting everything away on vacuum day. And speaking of vacuums, invest in a Roomba! Sure, it won’t vacuum as thoroughly as you can but it’ll get the floors relatively clean on a regular basis, which is more than what’ll happen if you leave it until you’ve got the time. Once you’ve got your chore routine down you might even be able to find fifteen minutes here or there to fit in one of those crazy non-essential chores, like mopping!

Remember this:
Although you tell yourself it’s okay to live in a disaster zone and you’d like to ignore it, you know better. Sometimes cleaning your house can feel like climbing a mountain, and who wants to spend an entire day cleaning even if you could spare the time? Breaking up the chore list into small tasks you can accomplish each day is just taking one step at a time. Which you need to do if you want to climb a mountain.

Email us or leave a comment below if you have anything to add or ask! And to check out OUR chore chart (aka our responsibility chart), head on over on our Support page.

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5 thoughts on “I’d rather live in a pig-sty.

  1. Those are some good suggestions – reminds me to take the Roomba out the closet! Why should i vacuum when the Roomba can do it for me free of charge! :)

  2. This is a really great post. I think most people have had a moment of “who cares?!” somewhere along the line of parenthood.. from rice cereal crushing underfoot to playmobil injuries making you cry (Just me? Okay!). It’s so much better to get that balanced “groove” back. Once the kiddos are helpers (and they can be from a very young age!) it feels much more manageable. You mentioned my favourite “magical” number- 15 minutes. It’s amazing what can get done in that short – focussed – period of time!

      • You’re welcome! :)

        Yes.. for a minute it feels good.. then the piles start to grow. If I put down one thing and blink- three more things will be there, suddenly. It’s remarkable, really!

        Yes, we also have LEGO issues, but again. Can’t feel feet. :D

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