So it seems, from my blog, anyway, that my life revolves around motivating the children in my life to clean. Nice.
I am currently working on the Holiday Grand Plan as well as trying to get our house clean enough and in good enough repair to sell (cue Jaws music). I’m also working on incorporating a new, heavier homework load (hello, fifth grade!), as well as some domestic reponsibility for my kiddos. As I work on the HGP and ready-ing the house, I realize that I really am not making these little
freeloaders kids work hard enough and it is creating a lot of work for me!!
A little background: For about six months now, they have had dinner chores. They are listed on the fridge just in case they wonder what they are, but basically OED (10) is to empty the dishwasher (if necessary), clear the bar/island, spray and wipe it AND THE BARSTOOLS, and sweep the kitchen. Conundrum (8) is to clear the table, load the dishwasher, spray and wipe the table AND THE CHAIRS, and sweep the dining room. After almost six months, I think maybe we have them to a place where they can accomplish this in under an hour and without
threat to their bodily person parental supervision. The IDEA is that DH and I are bathing and dressing Pebble (3) and Ad Lib (18 months) during this time. The reality has been that one of us is doing that while the other supervises the dinner chores, which is an utter nightmare. No wonder kids grow up not knowing how to do anything. Anyone who has ever watched an 8 year old sweep understands why it is so hard to teach your children to do housework. It makes me want to weep–then sweep for him!
Point being, however, that now that we have semi-mastered the dinner chores, it is time for a new task (actually, two…I may be biting off a little much here, but I’m pretty sure they can handle it): cleaning the bedroom and bathroom. I made another two charts (on one page, I will cut and laminate them). They are titled “How To Clean Your Room” and “How to Clean Your Bathroom” and they have checkboxes for daily, weekly, and quarterly chores. Since my two oldest share a room, I think I will make them alternate–whoever does the daily chores one week does the weekly chores the next. The quarterly chores are things that will require–ahem–parental supervision. And because I know that DH and I aren’t the best at setting an example of a clean bedroom, and because I know that children learn by example, I made one for our bedroom and bathroom also.
One of the things I’ve learned in the year since I last posted to this blog is that cell phone reminders are amazing for those of us with ADD (which, I’m coming to suspect, includes my ENTIRE family). I’ve known this for a while, but I’ve never used it in relation to housekeeping. People used to think it was funny that I had an alarm go off to remind me to pick up my then 4 year old OED from preschool. And then when he started third grade after a little while homeschooling, I had an alarm set to remind me pick him up every day at 2:30. It wasn’t that I thought I’d actually FORGET him. It’s just that I know myself. I lose track of time easily. I just knew that one day I would get to reading or sewing or decluttering and totally miss the pickup time. And I didn’t want to be *that* mother. As it happens, the only time a child of mine was ever forgotten at carpool, it wasn’t me that forgot.
So I have used this little gem of wisdom about cell phone reminders to help with housekeeping and I set up reminders for chores. OED’s alarm sound is a duck and it goes off on T at 6:00 to remind me to check whether he has brought the trash can from the curb and every M, W, and S, it goes off at 6:30 reminding me to check and see if he has
scattered cat litter all over the bathroom and gotten it wet enough that it sticks to the floor and will never come up no matter how much I mop emptied the cat box. Conundrum’s is a…hmm…another weird sound…and it goes off on M reminding me to see if he has emptied all of the trash in the house and T, R, and Su reminding me to check that he has emptied the compost.
So, for the bedroom and bathroom task…I think what I’ll do is set a little alarm for 7:30ish and let that be the “daily chore” alarm. Bedroom and bathroom daily chores should take no more than 10 minutes, but if they aren’t done daily, then we will spend ALL DAY SATURDAY…supervising (there’s that word again…I’m really starting to hate it!) room cleaning.
And just in case you’re wondering if I have it all figured out, I just had to interrupt the publishing of this blog to clean human feces off of my piano. Yes. I. Did. I hate potty training.