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Getting kids involved!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So, for those of us who think that housework doesn't have to be time away from the kids, give us your tips

For years we've done the five minute clean up though we no longer use a timer. I have a list of three songs we clean to. We start with Rusted Root's Drum Trip and race around putting things away in the backroom (where most of life happens). We're supposed to finish before Ecstasy is over and then I vacuum during Send Me On My Way. The kids *usually* enjoy this and I *try* to do it daily. I have to totally micro manage though. My son (3) can clean a good bit on his own but it's like dd (7) can't see the junk She'll stare at the carpet cluttered with toys and dressup and books and say "there's nothing else!". So I pick things up myself while suggesting things to her ("put that in the dressup, put this on the bookshelf" etc.)

I've found that a spray bottle is a joy for little kids Too much maybe Also, both kids like dusting. We have this long dust mop on a pole that was my dh's Grandmas. The kids love to go after cobwebs with it (lucky for them there are plenty to go around ). They also enjoy the feather duster. Wiping mirrors is also incredibly fun for my daughter for some reason.

And since I use natural cleansers the kids can help out all they want. A few days ago we scrubbed the tub and both kids helped. My 7 y/o actually said "we *get* to scrub the tub!" I use a mix of Dr. Bronner's and baking soda and each kid got their own sponge and went to town alongside me. It's not perfect of course, but I'm greatly influenced by Flylady so perfection is not one of my goals

My dd also thinks Flylady is cool so she has a few Flylady type lists of things to do in her room. Not that she does them everyday One of the lists is a 5 minute timer clean up with simple yet detailed instructions. She sets the timer for 5 minutes and then picks up her floor and sweeps. I help too but she's been doing this daily so there isn't really even 5 minutes worth. When the timer goes off she's done. And also, per Flylady, I don't re-do it or say she has to keep going, or tell her she didn't do it right or any of that.

I also check out Kelly's missions on Flylady to find ones that will work for my kids. The other week there was one saying to go around the house and wipe the doorknobs. Bridget did that and had fun We haven't done any other special missions yet but that one was a hit.

I grew up in a pig sty and still get easily overwhelmed with cleaning (which is why I need Flylady). I hope that making this fun for the kids and involving them in it will help them as they grow up. I'm not trying for Better Homes and Gardens, but it's not the hole I grew up in so I'm proud of myself It's still too cluttered for my tastes but is now more on the side of "comfortably lived in" rather than what it was like when I had PPD (which was still not as bad as what I grew up in, sad to say).

The things the kids do are not always #1 priorities (like dusting or mirror wiping) but I figure it's more important that they have fun and get used to helping out regularly in a good way instead of the "OMG we have company coming over and the place is trashed, get cleaning NOW NOW NOW" type of housework my mom favored.

So let me stop rambling and let y'all share your tips
post #2 of 10
Those are great tips! thanks for sharing them. I can definitely incorporate some of those like mirror wiping, dusting, etc.

Some ways that dd LIKES to help: Some of her toys are organized into bins and drawers with a picture outside of what goes in it. While I pick up stuff around the house, I can direct her to pick up a particular category, like the trains or dressup stuff or puzzles, which all have their own places. She LOVES knowing where stuff goes!

I unload the dishwasher and she sorts and puts away the silverware, spatulas, big spoons, etc.

she REALLY wants to clean toilets so I closely supervise that and have her wash her hands when she's done.

If she's not in the mood or resistant, I don't push it. Mostly she WANTS to help, and I want to make it fun and not a big deal. My mom HATED cleaning house and I'm pretty sure that helped create my resentment about it, (which I AM getting over finally ).Fortunately our house was not a pigsty, probably because of my dad. You can really see the difference in their styles now that they're been divorced for years. You can barely walk around her house and I would never go barefoot, whereas my dad's is tidy and clutter free, even with only two rooms.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Oh, the toilets! Thankfully no one's asked recently but in the past my kids have wanted to help clean them. That sort of bugs me but hey, if they're having fun . . . . .

Having a place for everything really helps us too! Instead of going around wondering where something goes I just say "in the dinosaur bin/in the playfood bin/in the duplo bin" or whatever. SO much easier.

I read somewhere that the trick to "a place for everything and everything in it's place" is how you deal with things that don't have a place. You have to decide, is it important enough to *give* it a place? If the answer is no then it's not important enough to keep. Of course that's easier said than done
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
What, the rest of y'all just clean up after the kids like maids?
post #5 of 10
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
What, the rest of y'all just clean up after the kids like maids?
NOPE! Get the kids involved I say! Will have to incorperate some of your tips. It's best to start them when they are very young, that way it doesn't come as a surprise to them. I had them clean up toys, throw things out. Help mommy put this away... I was fun KWIM
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yup! Get 'em started young Seriously, there are so many housework jobs that little kids find FUN, why *not* let them get into it? My son likes to pour the laundry detergent and throw clothing into the washer (and his sister did at this age too) and the bath scrubbing thing and sweeping and all that. Ok, so it's an uphill battle to make picking up fun, I'll admit that I try though
post #7 of 10
To my son there is no greater joy than a bottle of vinegar water and the dirty kitchen table.
post #8 of 10
Great tips everyone! I think I need more ideas to help me! My toddler loves to clean the toilet, if I"m cleaning the bathroom. She also likes to "quirt" anything! She can dust, and likes to set the table. She can do the silverware herself (get itout,, count who needs what).
post #9 of 10
We have clean-up times throughout the day. I randomly assign tasks based on what needs to be done. For example, after meal times, one child dries dishes, one child wipes off the table, one child sweeps the dining room. I also ask the kids to help me clean up during the day. For example, you need to clean up your toys before we can move on to the next activity.

For the most part, my kids enjoy helping out around the house. The key to keeping their enthusiasm is to make sure I'm working along side of them, and not just assigning them tasks to do alone.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by annethcz
The key to keeping their enthusiasm is to make sure I'm working along side of them, and not just assigning them tasks to do alone.
That is it for me too And that's also why I don't feel housework "takes away" from my time with my kids. We are doing it together, having fun, and chatting and stuff.

I save the really UN fun stuff for just me. Like, they don't help when I change the cat litter
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