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As a stay at home mom one of the most frustrating tasks is cleaning the house. It takes a lot of time, effort and energy and what do you have to show for it? It stays clean for maybe 30 minutes then it has to be cleaned all over again!
It can feel like a broken record, a never-ending cycle of pick up, clean up, rest, repeat.
From early ages I taught my children to clean. We sang the clean-up song every time they finished playing with a toy. We introduced chores to allow them to pitch in to the running of our home. I encourage them to offer a hand and help me in my daily tasks: we all live together, we can all work together too in order to keep our home tidy and clean!
While cleaning is not a fun task, it is an excellent opportunity to teach our children:
The younger children are when we begin having them pitch in around the house, the easier it will be to make it part of their daily routines. Even if they aren’t fully capable of truly “helping,” let them be part of your cleaning rituals. Putting away laundry? Have them help fold socks! Cleaning the cabinets? Give ’em a wipe and let them “clean” too.
Cleaning is not a fun thing for any of us and none of us want to drag it out and make it take longer than necessary. Including our children in the cleaning of the house? Makes it take even longer. But don’t save the cleaning for when they are in bed! Make the time to show them how to do it and help them understand why it’s important. It’s not something that can be rushed through so make sure to set aside a “clean up time” to really include them in the process!
Show Then Step Away
While most mama’s don’t love to clean, we do get pretty hardcore about the ways in which we achieve that clean home and how we like for our home to look. Having our children help means having to let go of that control. Teach your children how to do the task, then step away and let them do it. Yes, the windows may be streaky. The dishwasher may be loaded haphazardly. But that’s OKAY! It’s a learning process! Don’t take over the task for them when they struggle and allow them the freedom to find their own “best way” to get the job done. We all may do something differently but as long as we get to that end result, it’s a beautiful thing to be unique and independent!
Make It A Routine
You can’t just sit down and take one afternoon and show a couple of ways to clean something and expect your child to “get it” and be able to do it on their own. Make their clean-up time part of your daily or weekly routine. If Tuesday is toilet day, plan it for when they are awake and able to be part of the process. Children soak up knowledge so easily and thrive with routine. Include them in the process and do it regularly. Before you know it you can be sitting down taking a break and letting them handle toilet day all on their own! #goals
Do Not Redo
A common trend among parents is to let their kids do a task and then as soon as the child is away, redo it the way the parent would rather have it done. What is that teaching our children? First, it teaches them that Mommy and Daddy will always fix their mistakes which isn’t a positive lesson. And it’ll teach them that Mommy and Daddy don’t trust them to do a task. If you have issue with the way something is done, use the next time to teach them a new way to achieve it, don’t take away their pride of a job well done by re-doing it yourself.
It’s HARD to bite that tongue. While I’m not saying we should just praise our children because they did something, I also think it’s important not to overly critique either. We want to praise them for the hard work, the good effort, and then kindly guide them as to how they can improve next time. Maybe they cleaned the mirrors and got their dirty feet all over the sink when they stood in it to do the mirrors. Focus first on the mirrors and that they went that extra mile of climbing up onto the countertop to really get those mirrors clean…then talk about how next time it may be best to use a step stool to avoid the footprints in the sinks.
Kids WANT to help out and are so proud when they get to feel like “Mommy and Daddy” and do the things we do on a daily basis. Things that we consider to be frustrating chores, are fun tasks and challenges for our children. By taking the time and effort to teach them how to clean and by keeping it part of their regular routine we will have our loads lightened! Our children will gain the knowledge of how to clean our home and gain the independence of being able to do the task on their own! Everyone wins…and everyone gets to enjoy a clean home together!
Today is also Babywise Friendly Blog Network Pinterest Day! We are all talking on the topic of cleaning…if you have that Spring Clean Fever you’ll for sure want to visit all the bloggers today who are writing on this topic! And be sure to check out our group Pinterest Board as well as my personal Pinterest page for more great content.
- Mama’s Organized Chaos: Challenge Yourself to Not Clean up for Your Child
- Christine Keys: How to Have a Clean Home When You Have Small Children
- Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: Easy Cleaning Schedules for Busy Moms
- Twin Mom and More: How to Keep Your House Clean in 10 Minutes a Day
- Team Cartwright: How to Use a Block Schedule to Organize Cleaning