A little while back Sophia has contacted me and asked me if she could share a post on my blog. I loved the idea and so I’m very happy to have her guest post on A Momma’s View today. I personally love to get the kids involved in the day to day housekeeping stuff (although it not always seems easy…) and every good idea to make it happen is very welcomed. If you, like me, appreciate her input, do me a favor and visit her blog and follow her.
Who said that being the mother means cleaning up after family members all the time? When I first felt like I had had it with cleaning up after my kids and my partner, too, I thought I was a horrible person. But I am not. Like all human beings, I too need a break and I too may be tired sometimes. So, I decided to teach my family how to help me keep the house going. After all, I’m not the only one living in the house, so why should I be the only one cleaning it?
Motivating my partner to start helping me was like a child’s game, but when it came to the kids – I found myself in trouble. I tried everything, from stop friendly telling them to help me every now and then to yelling at them and slamming doors – nothing helped. And then, out of nowhere, it struck me – children are creatures of action, not creatures of talk. So, instead of telling, I started showing them that I needed help. And I gotta admit, that’s the most genius thing I’ve ever thought of.
I started by not cleaning up after them. It took a while, maybe a week or two. The clutter was mind-blowing but I managed to leave it as it was. And then one day, I witnessed something amazing – my daughter clearing away all plates after dinner! It was amazing and I felt really proud. After a while, I saw her putting away toys after play and my son started making his bed in the morning. Every morning.
I made sure to praise them for that. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to motivate your kids – you just need to tell them you’re proud. Our children love us and will do anything to please us, but they can’t know we’re pleased if we don’t say it. They are not mind readers, after all. On the contrary, if you constantly express your dissatisfaction, your children will lose motivation and will definitely stop helping you with the cleaning
I learned through experience that children love rewards. Praising is important, but it’s far from enough. That’s why I introduced competitions with rewards. The winners of games like quickest bed-maker and room-declutterer got to play outside for a little longer, got slightly more money, etc. This is a two-edged sword, though, as too much rivalry can be the reason for fights between your children.
I learned to appreciate the little things. I understand that my children don’t have the same sanitation skills as I do but this doesn’t mean they don’t do their best. I adopted the maxim “A little dust here and there is far better than not a single minute for the mère (mother)”. I guarantee that in time, your children will get it and will start cleaning just as good as you – and if you’re lucky – even better.
We’re not living in a labor camp and I’m not a nasty dictator ordering her kids to clean because I’m too lazy to do it myself. That’s why, whenever my children were cleaning their rooms, I offered to help them. Thus, in time, my kids started to offer their help whenever I was cleaning.
With those simple actions I made my children (and my partner) realize that housekeeping isn’t an activity to be performed solely by me, that I, too, need a break every now and then, and that cleaning can actually be fun
. I advise all moms who are sick of cleaning up after all family members to try these tricks, they really work.