“Your kids will start helping you clean today!” Part V Dust & Vacuum

Are you overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that has accumulated everywhere it doesn’t belong? Do you ever wonder how it all got there and how you can possible put it all away? How can you dust and vacuum your home when there are things lying in your everywhere?   **Please note, there are affiliate links in this post**

You CAN do this. It’s easier than you think. Just like in your bedroom, we’re going to break things down into manageable pieces. Deep breath…here we go.

First, go to each room. This is going to be something that the kids can easily help you do. Take everything in that room that is somewhere it doesn’t belong and either put it all on the couch or bed in that room. Don’t worry about putting things away yet. That’s it! Now do that in every other room.

Now you have one condensed place in each room with things to put away. You can put them away now or later. Have the kids put their own things where they go, and toss the trash into the trashcan. You only have a few things left to put away and your house is looking GREAT!

There are two types of dusting in our home. Quick dusting with a duster to get the majority of the dust gone, and intensive dusting to erase all evidence of dust.  Today, run a duster (I LOVE the Swiffer duster, a link for it is below) over every flat surface. Get it into the crevices in the bookshelf and other small places. This can easily be done by the kids and then you just have to dust the places they can’t reach. (If you dust your ceiling fan every time you dust then you’ll never get that awful fan-stuff that accumulates after a month or two. An extender for your duster is definitely a worth while investment)

Once a month, get out a dust rag and some Pledge or other cleaner and do a serious dusting. It will smell and feel great and help repel the dust. If you prefer this method, do it every time, but I find that the other gets the dusting done in a third of the time and I’m not so tired. For me, it’s all about efficiency. I want a clean home, but I just don’t have the energy to deep clean it every time, and I’ve learned that it’s ok to do what I can and leave the rest.

Now for the vacuuming. In our home, there are two types of vacuuming as well. Quick vacuuming, which just runs the vacuum over the main part of the carpet in each room. It is all about quantity, not quality. For today, do this. You’ll feel good about it being done, and it won’t wear you out. If your kids are big enough, have them run the vacuum in a few rooms. Remember, we’re not going for perfection today, make it fun and they’ll enjoy helping next time. The link for the vacuum I use is below.  It works AMAZINGLY well!

Quality vacuuming involves getting the tube attachment and getting into every corner of the room. Honestly, this only gets done every couple of months at my house, vacuuming really wears me out! I have my older son do this, and I don’t like having him do too much because he’s also got school and a job and his time is limited.

Here’s the deal with your children helping you: they are more eager to help when they know that you value their time and you are not asking more of them than they can handle.

 

Now…

  • your house is picked up
  • it’s dusted and vacuumed
  • you are breaking jobs down into manageable pieces to get everything done
  • and your kids know how to help you.

You can get something done even on the days when you feel bad because you know that it’s OK to just do a small thing at a time, and everything doesn’t have to be done at once! I can’t wait to hear how it’s going for you. Send me an e-mail and let me know. Just CLICK HERE.

“Your kids will start helping you clean today!” Part IV Bedrooms

Your bedroom should be your sanctuary.

 It is YOUR place to sleep and relax. If you’re like me, you spend more than a typical eight hours in your bedroom.  Do you feel relaxed when you step into your room? Many of us don’t. We take care of the rest of the house, and since no one else will be in our room, we let it go. I say we need to take back our bedrooms! Starting today, focus on making your bedroom your special retreat.

We’re going to work on our room in 15 minute intervals. Each paragraph below is one 15 minute section. If you can get through a section in less than 15 minutes, move on to the next one.  Stop if you feel tired and start up again when you feel better. No job has to be done all at once. That’s where a lot of us get hung up and just don’t start cleaning,  then everything piles up and we are totally overwhelmed. Start small. Clean a piece at a time and before you know it, your room will be your sanctuary. You deserve it!

Start with your bed. Strip it and wash the sheets if it’s been a while.  Then make your bed. Your bed sets the tone for your whole room. I used to think it was pointless to make a bed just to get in and mess it up, but now that I make it every time I get out of it, it’s a lot nicer to walk into my room. This is a great time to teach your child(ren) how to properly make a bed if they don’t know.

Next, check out the area around your side of the bed. How does your nightstand look? How about the floor around there? Sometimes mysterious little pieces of trash and toys and stuff appear there. Now is the time to get rid of them. Little ones can take their things out of your room and put them away.

OK, now we’re going to work on the floor in your bedroom. Have trouble bending down and picking things up? Set the timer and make a game to see how fast the kids can get everything from the floor onto your bed. Make it a game, and it will go faster. Now you just put those things where they go.

Time to pick up everything on the flat surfaces of your room. Dressers, desk, etc. all need to be cleared off. Get them as empty as you can. Leave the things that make you feel happy out, but everything else must find another home. Have the kids take things into other rooms and put them away.

The last step is dust and vacuum. If you’re not feeling well, then just dust and vacuum your room. Don’t feel like you’ve got to do the whole house right now. This is just about YOU and your space.

How does it feel? It’s much more relaxing, isn’t it? It makes me feel happy and a lot calmer to have my room neat and clean. I hope you feel that way too. If you make your bed every time you get up and just spend five minutes every day picking up the stuff that manages to appear in your bedroom, you will notice a big difference in the way it looks and feels. Try it and let me know how it went!

Once your room is done, use the same plan for every other bedroom. Kids get overwhelmed by looking at huge messes and I know mine need to have me break down picking up their rooms a section at a time. Have them do it just like we did for our rooms, just tell them one part at a time and it will be less stressful than if they have to look at a huge mess all at once. They’ll feel better being in such clean rooms too!

Your challenge for today: spend 15 minutes working on your room. Even if you can just make your bed, you will feel better being in that space. Let me know how it went! Send a message HERE.

Your kids will start helping you clean today! Part III, “The Kitchen”

We’re going to start in what I’d always thought to be the worst cleaning job in the kitchen: THE KITCHEN FLOOR:

Can you really get the kitchen floor clean while having fun? The answer is YES! Here’s the deal, it might not be “white glove clean” done, but it will be cleaner than it would be with a Swiffer. And, your kids will have FUN doing it!

Here’s what you need:

  1. Two dish towels or wash cloths and one big towel
  2. Warm, soapy water
  3. A floor that will not get ruined with warm, soapy water

Pour a little soapy water on the floor. Please have your child be CAREFUL, wet floors are slippery. Have the child put a foot on each towel and “skate” on the water. When that section is clean, put more soapy water on another section of floor and repeat. Rinse out the towels as needed. My kids LOVE to do this, and it gets the dirt up quickly! Use a bigger towel to skate and dry the floor or let it dry on its own. Again, please be careful, floors are slippery when wet!

NEXT UP: CLEARING OFF COUNTERS AND TABLES

Choose someone old enough. Have them move all dirty dishes into the sink. Now they’re all together, and the mess is consolidated. When the counters are empty, it’s time to clean them up. Next, take a a clean, warm, soapy cloth and wipe the counters and table. It’s a nice finishing touch that can be done by any age. And, if you’re tired, stop here for now.

 

Thank goodness for: THE DISHWASHER

clean-dishwasher
Even young kiddos can empty the silver and plastics!

You will be surprised what help children can be with the dishwasher. **Please make sure there are no sharp knives or other objects if young children are helping you** My kiddos start at age 4 by emptying out the silverware.

When we load the silverware into the dishwasher we separate it: spoons in one section; forks in their own section; and butter knives in their own section. That way, they just pluck up a section and put it in its spot in the drawer. BOOM! One part down.

Then, the younger ones can also get the plastic bowls, plates and cups and put them in a stack on the counter, or away if the cupboard is a low one.

An older child (whatever age you know your child can safely do this) can put the breakables up on the counter, or away on the shelf if they are tall enough to safely do it. For me, just having the dishes at counter height is a great help.

VOILA! An empty dishwasher! Then, have whomever understands where things go and can safely load the dirty dishes rinse them and load it up. We have the older ones take turns, one does it one day, and the other the next.

 

The one you can’t escape: WASHING THE DISHES

This is a job for someone tall enough to reach into the sink and safely handle your dishes. I do not recommend a young child for this job, but as they get older, they are GREAT at it. Make sure you teach your child exactly HOW you want them to wash and dry the dishes, and where they go. Don’t expect them to know what you want unless you have taught them each step.

 

FINAL TWO QUICK AND EASY STEPS:

  1. Take the garbage bag out of the kitchen and to the big trash can. (I just put it outside the back door for someone else to take, I can’t carry it that far)
  2. Sweep the floor (if someone didn’t “skate” on it today) Is sweeping difficult for you? Here’s a little vacuum that’s light enough for kiddos to use. It isn’t for big jobs but it’s great for small crumbs and messes, plus it’s super easy for kids to push around.  Honestly it almost feels like a toy. Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner Simpli-Stik Lightweight Bagless Corded Stick and Handheld Vacuum SD20000RED

clean-kitchen

NOW YOUR KITCHEN IS DONE!

Whether you have one young child who can do a small part, or an older one who can help with more, remember, any help is good help. Keep it positive, and only start having them help a bit at a time, then add more once they understand how to do it.

 

YOUR CHALLENGE TODAY: have someone skate on your kitchen floor. It’s amazing how nice a freshly cleaned kitchen floor feels, and it’s even better when the process is fun! That job definitely does NOT need to be done every day. Tomorrow, try another task. Slowly build your way up to having fun while getting the kitchen totally clean together. YOU CAN DO THIS, and they CAN help!

“Your kids will start helping you clean today!” Part II, Details for Mom to remember

Before I write more posts about your children helping you out at home, I need to share a few thoughts with you:

  1. You are doing your children a favor by teaching them how to take care of the house.

  2. You are not doing your children a favor by turning them into your maids and putting excessive pressure on them.

  3. You need to have a realistic idea of how clean things should be, and make things fun so that they will want to keep helping and keep a good attitude.

Here are some details about that:

YOU ARE DOING YOUR CHILDREN A FAVOR BY HAVING THEM LEARN TO TAKE CARE OF THE HOUSE.  When they grow up, they need to know how to take care of themselves and their surroundings properly. If you start early, picking up after themselves will become a life-long habit, which only benefits them.

The three adult children of mine who have always helped out at home were astounded when they moved to college at the lack of self-sufficiency of their fellow students. Many of them didn’t know how to pick up after themselves or do their own laundry. A majority didn’t know how to cook themselves basic food. You do not want your child to have those problems.

 

YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR CHILD A FAVOR BY TURNING THEM INTO YOUR MAID AND PUTTING EXCESSIVEW PRESSURE ON THEM.  Seriously, I am not teaching you how to get them to help so that they can be your servant. They need to know basic skills, and if you’re not feeling good it’s great to have someone in the house who can help you, but kids need to play and be kids. Please remember that.

It may take a while to find the right balance of helping and doing too much or too little. Start small. Have them learn one small task at a time and then when they’re confident teach them a new skill. Keep going and teaching them new things. That doesn’t mean that the child does every skill they know every day. In our home, the five and seven-year-old have three things they do each day, and those things are separated into morning and afternoon jobs so they don’t get tired of doing too much at once.

peaceful-room
Home feels good when everyone both pitches in and has time to relax.

YOU NEED TO HAVE A REALISTIC IDEA OF HOW CLEAN THINGS SHOULD BE, AND MAKE IT FUN SO THEY WILL WANT TO KEEP HELPING AND HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE.  Let me start here by saying something that is VERY important, if you want your child to want to help you, please let go of your insistence on perfection. You need to have a realistic idea of how clean things will be, and make things fun so that they will want to keep helping and keep a good attitude

When your child was learning to walk you didn’t tell them that they were wrong every time they struggled or fell. Now, as you are teaching them more new skills, please let them learn with confidence, give them a chance to feel the success of a completed job many times before you expect it to be done like you want it to be. Trust me here, I didn’t do that with the older two, and it made them not want to help as much, the young ones, however, LOVE helping because it’s fun and not filled with unnecessary pressure.

 

Your kids will start helping you clean today!” Part I, “Pick Up Your Age!”

“PICK UP YOUR AGE!”

OK, HERE’S THE SITUATION:
The kids are home,
the house is messy,
there’s laundry to do,
dishes to wash,
dinner to make &
You. Feel. Rotten.

What is a Mom striving to be positive and not let it all get her down to do? We’re breaking down how to get the kids to help with everything in this five-part series, “Your kids will start helping you clean today!” Try it and see how easy it is.

Here is a little tool I came up with when I had four little ones at home and the place always seemed like a toybox had exploded. Using this tool, not only will the kids help you, but they’ll know that they’re going to be doing some cleaning eventually and might not leave as many things out to begin with.

pexels-photo-85599

THE TOOL IS CALLED, ”PICK UP YOUR AGE.” This is how it works: if your child is 4, he picks up 4 things in each room, if she is 10, she picks up 10 things in each room. It’s that easy! You can start this as young as two years old! Here’s how it goes….start in the room you are in. Tell each child that they will pick up their age and that they will put things where they go, not just in another place. It’s easiest for little ones to pick up toys and put them in a toybox or another receptacle. Older children can pick up things that go into other rooms. Explain that every person in a home has work to do, not just parents. Their jobs are (for example) to be kind, loving, do their schoolwork, and help around the house.

When you are starting this, you need to be in each room with your child. Explain exactly what you expect. Just do one or two rooms the first day. Then expand a little every day until they can do it on their own, without you watching. Now I’ll tell you that the younger ones can usually only do this in a room or two and then they fizzle out, but I have the older ones (6 and over) pick up their age in most rooms. Some rooms, like the bathroom, don’t have that many things out, and that makes their job easier. It’s that easy! You will have help today! It might just seem like a little thing, but every little bit helps.

Even little ones can help by picking up their age!
Even little ones can help by picking up their age!

 

HELPFUL HINT–The more fun things are, the better attitude your children will have doing jobs** around the house. Present this as a fun thing, it will be a lot easier. You can also have a motivator such as, “when you are done picking up your age we will play a game, (or color, or have a snack, etc.) A sticker chart for jobs is also nice, if your child understands getting something later for a job done now-this will be discussed later this week.

**At our house, things kids do to help are called jobs, not chores. Everyone in a home does a job, whether at the office or in the house, and “chore” just has a negative connotation to me.

Click HERE to learn—can cleaning the kitchen floor be fun?