In part 1 of How To Clean Your House I discussed creating a cleaning schedule that works for you and your lifestyle. In part 2 I will be expounding on the idea of having your kids and spouse help with the chores.
Something that most housewives of the 1950s did that I feel has been lost over time, was make their family help out with the household chores. It was very common for kids to have a fairly strict chore routine that needed to be finished before they could play. I believe this has fallen out of favor for many families, and I am not quite sure why. Maybe it is because our kids have more outside activities like music and sports and they don’t have time for chores. Maybe it is due to the bizarre assumptions that mothers need to do it all and let the kids be kids. Whatever the reason, I think it is time to bring back children’s chores, and if you work outside the home, I think this is a must. Where is it written that the mother has to keep the house clean? It is the responsibility of the entire household to keep their home in order.
Once you get your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedule figured out, it is time to have a family meeting. Sit everyone down and explain what needs to be done to keep your home in order. Then explain to everyone that you are not a robot you can’t get it all done by yourself. This is a team effort and everyone needs to be involved. Then let your kids decide what chores they want to take on. By making their own choices, instead of you telling them what they need to do, they will feel more empowered when doing their chores. Now it is entirely possible your kids will not be excited by the idea of chores and refuse to pick any. If this happens then you need to assign the chores by age/ability. Here is good chart on what each age group is capable of doing.
Now we all know when we give our kids more responsibilities, we also get more arguments. So you need to have consequences already figured out if the chores don’t get done, because there are going to be some fights about it. Just remember, the point of the chores is twofold. First of all you are teaching your kids that they are contributing members of the team and the second is to make sure you are spending less time on cleaning the house. At first it might feel like you end up spending more time fighting with your kids and your house seems messier than if you had just done it yourself. And that is probably true. But you need to be thinking of the long term and by giving your kids responsibilities toward their home, you will be creating better adults, which is really what the job of parenting is all about.
Lets talk about your spouse for a moment. I am guessing that in this day and age, your husband is doing chores. I know very few families where the husband comes home from work and just gets to read his newspaper in his favorite chair. Personally I am not even sure if that was really a thing that ever happened outside of our televisions. So I imagine you husband has what he thinks is a list a mile long of chores to do. If you compare his list to your list and they end up being fairly equal, then thank your lucky stars. But if your list is a lot longer, than you and he need to have a chat about how to take some of the chores off your list and add them to his.
In my family we have our chores separated pretty classicly. I am in charge of the grocery shopping, cooking, managing the housekeeper, and maintaining the kids clothing. My husband takes out the garbage, keeps the yard looking good, fixes whatever is broken, takes the kids to the doctor and dentist, and he is in charge of the boy’s sports uniforms and their shoes. We both trade off taking the kids for haircuts and helping the kids with their homework.
When September comes around, I have an extremely busy four months, ending with the winter break because there are so many holidays I have to prepare for. When I get overwhelmed I end up asking my husband to take some of “my” chores so I can attend to the extra workload during this time period. When January rolls around and things calm down, we go back to our standard jobs.
By having your spouse and kids take on some of the household chore responsibilities, you should be much better equipped to keeping a clean and tidy household. No one person should have to have all the chores heaped on them, and by treating your family as a team, you are teaching them lessons in responsibility and the idea that working together is much more beneficial than standing alone.
Here are parts 1 and 3: