When people think of a large family, they may think about the movie Cheaper By the Dozen.
Kids paintings covering every inch of the wall with dirty handprints and spagetti sauce decorating the spaces between.
Laundry that is stacked in 10-feet tall piles around the perimeter of the laundry room… and bedrooms…
Off-white dishes being tossed to and fro like in the movie Annie with one child scrubbing, one drying, and one putting away while all singing in unison, “It’s a hard knock life, for me!”
Let’s get this straight…
Most of these steriotypes are pretty accurate. 🙂
There’s a fine balance between allowing the house to rule you and you ruling the house. We are not slaves to our home or our stuff. We don’t need to stay up late cleaning or stress about the messes that are inevitable.
In order for a family to function, there needs to be order, little clutter, a system that the children know and adhere to for their benefit and everyone elses.
Kids need to work.
Work is great for them.
I’m still unsure where this mentality came in that kids need loads of time to play, but I know that kids don’t naturally know how to be prodcutive. Their flesh nature thrives on selfishly pleasing… well… themselves. They’ll sit in their own filth unless trained to clean it. They’ll spend their days twiddling their thumbs and causing contentions until everyone in the home is miserable!
So let’s remember, chores are a kids BEST FRIEND! They teach responisibilty, initative, ownership, punctuality, work ethic, apprechiating for belongings, respect for people who do things for them and so many more lessons that can ONLY BE TAUGHT THROUGH SOME HARD WORK!
Of course this involves work on your part in teaching and training your children. 😉
Here are some tips and habbits that we have implemented:
(1) Morning Chores: Every monring, before the kids come down they
(a) Pick up their floor
(b) Make their beds
(c) Brush hair and teeth
(d) Get dressed
But their homeschooled? Yes! But they need to get in the habbit of getting ready every morning is somthing that I want to train my children up to do.
(2) Juristictions: Everyone has a jurisdiction that they are in charge of. Depending on what it is, they have different times of the day they clean it.
(a) Laundry: One of my oldest girls does all the laundry. After her morning chores she brings all the dirty laundry from upstairs down (usually a load a day – at least) and starts a load in the washer, one in the dryer and brings the clean load up. After lunch she does this again, then folds and puts away the two loads. In the afternoon she switches the loads a third time and a fourth after dinner, putting two more loads away before bed. Every day this occurs except Sabbath.
(b) Kitchen: Another one of my oldest girls is in charge of this room. After her morning chores she puts all the clean dishes away. After each meal washes dirty dishes, wipes counters and sweeps the floor. Once or twice a week she will mop as she sees (or mom sees) it is needed.
(c) Dining Room: My 7-year-old does this room by making sure the table is cleared, wiped, chairs are wiped, floor is swept and mopped as needed throughout the day especially after meals.
(d) Living Room/Entry Way/Porch: My 5-year-old, assisted by my 2-year-old, are in chrage of keeping these areas picked up and straightened out. He dusts with just a spray and paper towel once a week and sweeps as needed (usually once a week). He (or I) vacuums every other day.
(e) Bathrooms: These I rotate between the older 3 girls and they get done once-twice a week. There is a check list on the wall that they follow (becuase I have painstakenly trained them to do so) and it gets done very thouroghly.
Habbits To Form:
(1) Yes Ma’am, Yes Sir: It not only shows respect, but it shows me that what was instructed to be done was heard and understood and they are responsible for following through. It leaves no room for excuses I didn’t hear you, I didn’t know!
(2) Obey IMMEDIATELY THOROUGHLY, CHEERFULLY: Think of any situation… whining? thowing a fit? Taking their sweet-ol-time? Leaving crumbs in the corner? Stuffing toys under the bed? None of these would happen if obedience was Immediate, thourough and cheerful. Drill this into their heads and ask them over and over, “How do we obey?” Immediately, Thoroughly, Cheerfully!
(3) When you Leave a Room, Clean Up!: Man, this one is a battle! My oldest are 8 and they still have not perfected this… actually now that I think about it, I am 28 and still havent perfected this. Imagine a home where when something was taken out, it was put away! Many cups of hot coffee wouldn’t be demoted to lukewarm if things were put away when someone left the room!
(4) Coming Home: Jackets go on the hook, shoes in the locker or lined up in the entry way, whatever you brought with you into the car comes back in the house. We fail at this more times then not… okay when Alex is home we do well… but when it’s just me we sometimes just kick things off and waltz in… *sigh*. Always room for improvement! Alex is a stickler at this! He especially requires Elias to make sure the entry way and porch remain tidy.
(5) Your Friends, Your Responsibility: It’s each kids job to tell their friends what the rules of the house are. I am NOT telling every single one of their friends what every single one of our chores are every single time they have a friend over. They should instruct their friends to bring their plates into the kitchen, make their beds after sleeping over, put their jackets on the hooks ect.
What about deep cleaning?
I have no issue fitting in some deep cleaning on times when it’s convienet. We don’t have a set schedule for this, but it typically happens about 4 times a year.
(1) Passover/Spring Cleaning (April)
(2) Summer Time (? If needed)
(3) Pre-School Prep (August)
(4) Hanukkah/Christmas Break (December)
These are times we don’t have school and we spend weeks purging, deep cleaning, organizing, doing house projects. As you follow my blog you will be more familliar with these things. You can also browse the tab labeled “organization” for more ideas and practical applications of how we deep clean and organize things such as clothes, toys, winter apparel, school supplies and the like.
Just this last week we purged all the kids toys, clothes, books, closets as well as began painting the kitchen, changed the bathtub fixtures, cleaned out the medicine cabinet and toiletry shelves, cleaned and purged the fridges, went through all our clothes… and more that I cant remember… we just had a week off and did it.
I think the trick is to not make a big deal out of it. Just wake up and decide to do it. Make the kids help. They need skills like this for life anyhow.
Remember: work is your/their friend 🙂