Ever feel more like a maid than a parent? You go from room to room, cleaning up after your kids and making the house look nice, and by the time you’re done they’ve messed it up again. Many parents make the mistake of doing all the household chores themselves, either because they want them done a certain way or because they are tired of battles with the kids. To change your family’s attitude toward chores and give yourself a break, try these 6 tips for raising a tidy family.
Tip For Raising A Tidy Family
Make chores fun
A huge part of the success of chore time is the attitude you take. First, find a different name for it. “Chore Time” sounds boring and hard; use a more neutral word (like “Cleanup Time”) or create a fun, unique name. Create a fun chore chart with stickers or rewards.
To raise a tidy family, associate cleanup time with games, music, and fun. Turn on some upbeat music and dance while you put clothes and books away. Strap Swiffer pads onto your children’s feet and let them “skate” around the kitchen to clean the floor. Tell kids that the toys are snakes or sharks and they have to wrestle them back to their spots. The more fun children have, the less whining you’ll hear and the happier everyone will be.
Focus on positive feelings
To ease the transition from nagging your kids to watching them clean on their own, help them recognize the positive feelings associated with cleaning. When you finish cleaning up, point out how much better the house feels. If you ingrain a sense of happiness associated with a clean space, kids will start to notice and dislike untidiness. Good feelings are a powerful motivator, and eventually most kids will tidy up without being asked. Notice their tidy habits and praise them for being responsible.
Keep chores fast
Dragging out cleaning time is a sure way to make kids grumpy and resistant. To keep them happy and get the job done fast, turn cleaning into a competition. Set a timer and see who can pick up the most in 30 seconds. Or challenge kids to see who can pick up the most blue items, the most red, the biggest ones, etc. in a certain amount of time. When kids see that they can have fun and quickly move to the next activity, they’ll put up less of a fight.
Work as a team as you clean
Kids should definitely learn to clean up their own messes and not treat mom or dad as a maid service. But don’t treat your kids like robots. Admit it, there are times when you just really don’t want to vacuum and would rather hire your local Coquitlam house cleaning service to do it for you.
Well, kids sometimes feel the same way. So cheerfully pitch in once in a while with your children’s chores. You’ll teach your kids valuable lessons in service and selflessness, and chances are they’ll return the favor. Raising a tidy family is doesn’t happen without you you sometimes showing them how as you clean together.
Organize and de-clutter
This is one of the most important tips for raising a tidy family: organize and de-clutter! The fewer items you have to put away, the easier cleanup time will be. Go through your child’s room with him and get rid of any toys and clothes he hasn’t used in the last 6 months. Establish a habit of going through your kids’ stuff every few months. Make sure everything you keep has a place.
Teach your kids the “one-in-one-out” rule: every time a toy comes in the house, one goes out. This will keep clutter to a minimum and make the next organizing session much smoother. Plus, kids might think twice about asking for a new toy if they know they’ll have to get rid of one.
Set the Example
Kids learn as much or more by your example than from the things you say. So do your best to be an example of tidiness. Keep your space neat, avoid complaining about cleaning, and pick up after yourself before moving on to the next activity.
Don’t worry about being a perfectionist. Trying to keep things pristine will just stress you out and cause your kids to dread cleanup time. At some point, good enough is good enough. Focus more on establishing habits and positive feelings toward cleaning than on making everything look perfect.
Attempting all of these strategies at once will be intimidating and frustrating. Incorporate them into your routine one at a time, and soon cleaning time won’t be such a chore and you will find raising a tidy family very rewarding. Feel free to share your tips for raising a tidy family in the comments!
Guest post by Edson Senna, who is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about family matters and home improvement. Though he tries hard to be tidy, he still sometimes wishes he could hire Maid in the Shade to help him out. He usually puts off cleaning to go running, biking, or to do some more writing.