I am a lazy housewife. But before you call Children’s Aide to protect my kids, you should know that my home is generally 15 minutes from being company ready. So how do I do it, here’s a simple check list.
1.Have at least 4 kids and space them apart in ages.
Yeah, I know that sounds like a lot of kids but for us it’s the perfect number. You see the oldest had the brunt of the housework for the longest time but she was more than willing to help train her younger siblings on how to do a job so that she could be relieved of that job. Which allowed me to train her, to do more of my jobs, thus lightening my load. Now that all 4 kids have been trained to do the basics, I have a wonderfully tidy home all the time. This week I walked my second born through the steps on how to clean an oven with just baking soda and water. No fumes, no fuss, no asthma emergencies. This will be a skill she’ll need for the rest of her life, now I’m trying to extract a promise from her to come back once a year to clean my oven when she grows up and moves out. I figure if I teach all four kids and have each of them come once a year and space it out every three months my oven won’t ever get too dirty! That’s why you need at least 4 kids.
2.Train up your children from the time they are born.
Doctors say that the human brain never forgets anything that it is taught. It might not be able to access the information but the info is stuck in there, somewhere. So, from the day your precious baby is born, start to train them, talk to them. Tell them where their shoes go, tell them where garbage goes, tell them where dirty clothes go, they won’t forget it! Think about it, how much could their little sponge brains absorb before they are even a year old! The best part is as you are walking around showing your little one where everything goes, you are tidying up the home as you do it. See it’s easy to train someone! LOL
3. If it’s fun, it’ll get done.
Make everything a game! When your baby moves from crib to their own bed, take them out to shop for their first comforter! Let them pick what colour they want and perhaps even matching sheets. Make it fun! Talk excitedly about how they are growing up and getting a big boy/girl bed! When you get home help them make their bed for the very first time, but here’s the catch. Tuck the foot end of the comforter under the mattress. When it’s tucked in it can’t slid off and makes it easy enough for a two year old to make their bed. In the morning teach them to mess up their beds by tossing all the pillows and teddy bears onto the floor, then grab the end of the comforter and pull it up to the headboard. Then they can pile all the pillows and teddy bears back onto the bed. Of course, having you jump up and down in excitement every time they do this will seal the deal for the next 4 years. Think if it as early morning aerobics.
4. Keep it age appropriate.
So, babies who are sitting up can learn to toss toys into a basket.
Walking babies can walk their toys back to a basket or shelf.
2 year olds can make their beds (make sure you tuck that comforter end in, it really does make it easier)
3 year olds can clean the bath tub – put them in their bathing suit give them a spray bottle with water and baby shampoo inside and a very special cleaning rag. (I bought washcloths in favourite colours but might I suggest these purple rags instead) They can spray the tub and wipe it down with their cloths, soap is soap and after they are done cleaning, strip off the bathing suit and spray them and the tub down.
4 year olds can shoot toys with the vacuum. Send the kids to pick up their toys in their bedroom and tell them the fastest vacuumer in the west is coming to vacuum their rooms so they better pick everything up. Then dig out the cowboy hat from the dress up kit and call your lucky little four year old out into the hallway. Show them the vacuum cleaner and explain how it works. My vacuum wand was adjustable for their height. Place the cowboy hat on their head and tell them to vacuum their room. Don’t giggle when the shock vibrates across their face because they’ve already figured out that if Mom is vacuuming she’ll pick up what’s on the ground so they don’t have too. But since they are the ones vacuuming they have to pick everything up. Since I love a bit of drama, I usually mimic what the Barbie might be saying as the vacuum comes close to her and the Lego scream in fear when they hear the vacuum cleaner start up. Sit on the bed and enjoy the show as your kiddo runs around putting toys away so they can vacuum their own floors.
5 year olds can learn to pack their own back packs and make their own lunches for school, the night before hand! Are you concerned that your child is watching too much TV. If they are watching TV they don’t have enough chores. By teaching your children how to pack a healthy lunch for themselves you are training them on how to make healthy food choices and the skills they’ll need in the future for their own children! When they resist learning how to do this, remind yourself that your grandchildren will someday call you blessed when they are taught by their parents how to do these things too. Professionals say that children shouldn’t have more than 2 hours of screen time a day. By training your children to pack their own back packs and make their own lunches, you are just preventing eye strain and teaching them to learn how to prepare for the next day’s activities. Once they realize that the TV doesn’t come on until the job is done, they’ll master packing their back packs and making lunches really quick!
5. Make holidays magical.
Have the kids clean up their rooms the night before but don’t vacuum yet. Sneak into their rooms with baking soda and sprinkle it all over their rugs. Wake them up with a cup of slightly warm hot chocolate in bed, wearing your hat, mitts and scarf. Tell them that it snowed in their bedroom last night. The surprise of being woken up with hot chocolate and snow on the ground is magical! Making childhood magical is fun but the real job here is teaching them to vacuum the whole floor. Bring out the snowflake buster (vacuum cleaner) and have your little one suck up all the snow flakes on their floor.
You could you the little bits of paper from the hole punch at back to school time, place confetti on the floor around their birthday or even your birthday. Wouldn’t a nicely vacuumed room make a nice birthday gift for you?
6. Find free resources and a system and work the system.
Once your child has learnt to read my favourite FREE resource for parents is the FlyLady Control Journal and for your children the Student Control Journal by the FlyLady. It was with the FlyLady’s help over 9 years ago that I finally learnt how to maintain my home without driving myself or my husband and kids nuts. I discovered a totally different attitude in myself when it came to cleaning my house. You see, I wasn’t cleaning my house; I was blessing my home and my family. Now that my children know exactly what has to be done when and they know there is an end to cleaning each day, they hop right to work, 90% of the time and get it done. Because when it’s done, we can be sure to find even more fun to be had, just living and enjoying each other.
7. Stop and smell the roses. Or eliminate the flowery scents all together.
My dd2 developed asthma. I discovered she was having reactions to any aerosol products and anything heavily scented. She really didn’t feel well while cleaning the bath room, she really was getting a headache whenever I cleaned my oven. Once we went back to cleaning basically with just baking soda, vinegar, water and a little bit of ammonia. Her asthma disappeared. My point is to listen to your kids. If your son says he feels like vomiting every time you wash the kitchen floor, it might not be that he just doesn’t want to help, he might actually have a sensitivity to that smell. Everything is trial and error.
8. Take time to let your kids teach you.
My youngest, the cute one, loves to help me clean the bathrooms. We swish and swipe the toilets together and she was so proud when I let her clean the counter by herself. Yeah, I bit my tongue because she missed a spot but the next day, she didn’t miss anything when I used a soap crayon to colour all over the counter top. What did I write? I wrote, I’m sorry messages. I’m sorry I didn’t let you do this earlier when you wanted to try. I’m sorry I said you were too little. I’m sorry I missed that you were growing up. She forgave me and wiped all the sorry’s away.
9. Learn that childish behaviour isn’t necessary defiant behaviour.
Children will whine at time when they have to do chores, don’t you? When I hear whining I remind that child of the possibilities when they are done their work. Just that simple reminder usually is all they need to hustle up and get it done. When they are refocused on the goal they can see the end result. If the job is too big, than down size it into baby steps. I wouldn’t expect my 7 year old to do a job without training her, when I train her I break the job down into smaller steps and every time we practise those baby steps I add one more. Eventually, she’ll be able to do the job without me checking up on her because she will have be trained and she’ll know how to do it. Will she try to skip steps at times, yeap, she’s just like her Mom, but when I notice, I gently remind her of the step and send her back to do it again. Eventually, it’ll click in that it’s faster just to do the job right the first time.
10. Don’t let your kids go off to college without learning how to do their own laundry, oh wait, better yet don’t train your kids.
I’m looking forward to my kids going off to college, although they joke that no one will be around someday to do the daily cleaning, I’m hoping that the house will stay cleaner without all of them dumping their stuff everywhere (shh, I know the stack to my left elbow is all my junk, but I NEED it on my desk). Anyway, I’m hoping that my children will be able to support themselves by being paid to clean up your kids dorm rooms and doing your kids laundry. That way when you come to visit your kids you’ll be amazed at how tidy their dorm room is and my kids will be able to pay their college fees on time. Please visit often!
Me, I’m praying for a young girl to move in down the road who wants to clean my home cheap!