For many moms, getting the whole family to pitch in with household chores, cleaning, and removal of clutter can be a challenge. But instead of having to do it all by yourself, you can turn such tasks into family activities.
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Guest post by Patricia Dimick @patricia_dimick on Twitter.
No matter how old your household members are, they can all participate in their own way. This balanced view of family teamwork helps not only to manage time but also to make everyone feel important and helpful. The following strategies will help you get your entire family to care for your home.
Develop a Reasonable Plan
Before anything else, you need to be realistic about the type and extent of help you can get from your family. Consider all factors – how much free time both you and your spouse have, how old your children are, how big your house is, etc. Think about how everyone can contribute and then develop a reasonable plan. In that plan, include a list of all the tasks that need to be done, including easy tasks for kids that are age-appropriate. Even toddlers can pick up their toys or put their dirty socks into the laundry hamper.
Setting achievable and measurable goals will help your family to keep on task with caring for the home. Begin by creating effective and specific daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for the cleaning of the home. Each child, your partner, and you will have specific responsibilities to ensure that the housekeeping goals are met. To keep everybody on task, design a chores calendar. You can do this with a large dry-erase board or a printed paper calendar. Hang the chores calendar in a conspicuous place, such as on the side of the refrigerator. This way your plan will always be in everyone’s sight.
Have a Family Meeting
A family meeting is always a great way to deepen family communication and work on common problems. In this case, it’s a useful opportunity to brainstorm workable solutions that will ease some of your housecleaning burden. Present your loved ones with the goals you’ve set, but also gather ideas from the whole family about how everyone can help. Don’t force your kids to participate in the family meeting, but make sure they’ve been invited to share their thoughts and feelings.
However, be prepared to deal with excuses from various members of the household. Your partner may claim to be too tired after getting home from work, while your kids may say that they have too much homework. Don’t get discouraged though, and calmly proceed with your plan.
Keep Them Motivated
Keeping kids motivated can be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to taking care of your home. However, there’s always a solution – consider implementing a rewards and consequences system. For example, if your child completes the cleaning task, the reward could be some screen time or getting to pick what’s for dinner. Conversely, if they refuse to do it, you can forbid TV or take away their toy for a short while.
You can also keep your kids motivated by promising a reward everyone will enjoy. For instance, if the whole family meets the given goals in a specified amount of time, perhaps the reward could be a fun outing to the mini golf center or movie theater.
Make it Fun!
Both your partner and your kids will often want to give up, so try to turn the situation into something fun and interesting to prevent that. Consider employing a few unconventional strategies. For example, listen to some music and dance while sweeping the floor, or play some word games when you fold laundry. Try making things fun by having a five minute pickup race to see who can pick up the most toys off the floor. Let everyone wear a silly hat or even a superhero cape while cleaning. A bit of goofiness will make cleaning more fun for everyone, and it’s a great way to keep your kids interested.
Busy schedules and uncooperative kids can make it tough, but setting a family routine for household chores helps to create a happier family. A little planning, motivation and persistence will get everyone to help out with a minimum of fuss or drama. By making chores a more fun and rewarding experience for your kids, you’ll teach them that taking care of their belongings and their living space is a worthwhile endeavor.
Patricia Dimick is a Denver-based writer. She loves to write about parenting topics and DIY jobs. When Patricia’s not writing or playing table tennis, she usually spends time with her precious daughter and husband enjoying trips to nature. You can reach her @patricia_dimick on Twitter.