May 20, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Enlist Your Helpers!

Counting God's Little Blessings
For me, one of the daily and most overwhelming parts of being a mom is keeping up the house.  Our home is a little different than the average in that a) we are all home all day long, and b) 7 people share a little over 1100 sqare feet of space.  I have had to become quite creative in making storage space and keeping the clutter at a minimum.  No matter how hard I try, though, I usually at some point during every day look around me and wonder, "How did it get like this in just an hour?"  

One thing that has helped is having my kiddos participate in keeping the house picked up and cleaned up.  There are several different methods we have used over the years.  I thought I would share a few ideas of ways you can enlist your children's help in keeping up with the house.  

*Everyone helps no matter the age.  Gavin will be 18 months old tomorrow (teardrop!), but he already helps the older kids by bringing things to them.  He hands Garrett the silverware from the dishwasher, and Garrett puts it into the drawers.  He throws his own diapers in the trash.  He helps pick up toys.  The best part is that we have all cheered him on so much as he is learning to do these things that now he enjoys doing them all by himself and even claps for himself!  Too cute!  By allowing even the littlest kiddos to help, they are learning that they are needed and a part of the family.  

*Assigned chores are helpful.  Sometimes, it is easier for some children to handle the "magnitude" of their tasks if they know what is expected each day.  We did a chore chart for a long time - assigning different chores to different kiddos each day.  The downfall that we experienced with this system was that as they grew older, they began to use the excuse, "That's not on my chart!"  Well, there are several solutions to that problem! 

*Show/train your children to meet your expectations.  Anytime, my children begin to learn to a new household duty, I show them several times first.  Then, they work as I watch, and once I am confident they know how to do the job well, they work on their own.  There need to be clear expectations set.  For bigger jobs such as cleaning the entire bathroom, I have even made a checklist so that they can remember all the little details.

*Check their work.  If you do not follow up and check the assigned chores, you will more than likely find yourself doing them over.  We must hold our children accountable to our expectations.  As they grow older, you will hopefully be able to back away a little more, but a surprise check every now and then still wouldn't hurt!  

*Remember your children are probably more capable than you think they are!  Kids need to be challenged.  One day a couple of years ago, I was sick and the Mr. was busy.  He told the 7 year old and 5 year old to make the kitchen spotless by the time he got back home.  I got up an hour later and except for not rinsing out leftover food in the sink from the dirty dishwater, my kitchen was spotless! The Mr. and I were both amazed!  Guess who has been cleaning the kitchen much more since that day?  :)  This is not to say that we make slaves of our children.  I make it a practice (for the most part) that anytime my children have been asked to work, I am working on something myself.  But, our children are very capable and even enjoy being given a new challenge to take on.  Don't be afraid to hand them something new and see how they do.  If they're not ready, help them finish it and make a mental note to try again in the future!

These are a few ways that I am learning to use the helpers God has given me.  It is an excellent way to prepare them for adulthood, to make them feel needed and a part of the family and to help Mommy feel more joyful and not quite so overwhelmed!  What are some ways that you have your kids help you around your home?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

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