Keeping a house clean is a manageable task, however, it is really a lot to take upon yourself. As challenging as it is to take care of the place when you are single, it’s even harder to do it when you have a family!
In addition to showing care and support, tackling the chores as a family comes with other benefits, too. Things that seem tedious and way too hard will be reduced to simple tasks, once a cleaning routine is created and improved through time and practice. In order to get there faster, though, you will need the right plan so arm yourself with patience and keep reading on.
Despite the bigger number of 'helping hands' at home, more often than not the burden of the household duties falls on just the parents or even only on one of them. A recent survey reveals that 86% of the women in Australia are still taking care of most of the housework in addition to numerous other responsibilities. This means that any changes in the family’s daily routine should be initiated by the person most affected by the load of work. Still, all need to be involved and pitch in with suggestions on what improvements could be made and how to achieve them.
Start by discussing what’s causing the current house maintenance problems - lack of time, improper distribution of the tasks in the family (kids included if they are old enough) or no involvement of particular members. You can write these down and go through the list point by point, then draw the necessary conclusions.
Once you are all on the same page regarding your goals, it is time to work up a strategy. Don’t focus as much on the outcome, but on the steps that lead up to the final results - what’s the easiest way to achieve the desired change.
You need to be realistic and fully understand what you want before you can break it down for everyone else, especially the kids. It may be tough to explain why the kitchen cupboards need to be polished and the carpets vacuumed frequently, however, it is quite easy to demonstrate. After all, children follow their parents’ example and love copying their actions, so this could be your best approach for getting the little ones involved.
There is no need for complicated instructions and it’s essential to assign tasks based on the person’s abilities. It’s challenging to find the appropriate chores for kids, especially when they are just starting to learn about the importance of cleaning. So, better set the bar low. Just for example, setting the table and watering the plants could be appointed to 2-3 years old children, while making the bed and dusting could wait until they are 4 or 5. That’s because if it seems too hard, the child will most likely get discouraged and distracted by other more appealing things. Prevent this by being there for them every step of the way, at least until they get used to it and don’t need supervision anymore.
Let’s face it, no one likes cleaning that much and there’s nothing wrong with it. For parents to stay on top of the routine is not easy, however, the kids are those that need strong motivation to remain involved.
Here comes the question of what makes cleaning more enjoyable?
It’s a tough one, however, there are some popular things that have proven to be helpful, but don’t limit yourself to these alone and experiment:
Finding the right tune - This could refer to a special playlist combining the favourite upbeat songs of all family members, as well as coming up with your own tune. The latter is worth a try, especially with younger children who will definitely find it amusing.
Games and competitions - What’s more fun than a game where you are in charge of making up the rules. A competition could be motivating and interesting not only for the little ones but for the grown-ups, too. You can test how fast you are by racing to complete certain chores from the list, followed by a nice reward for the efforts. This will not only make the cleaning experience more fun but will also help cut the time short significantly on doing things.
Accomplishment charts - This is a good way for both you and the kiddos to keep track of the good work you’ve been doing and be recognised for it. They will feel encouraged to explore their potential and develop important skills in the process. Use stickers, magnets and others to make the chart more colourful and intriguing.
Teamwork is all that matters – When the whole family works together, chores are done faster and don’t feel so overwhelming. This is important for the kids because everyone's involvement helps them see their responsibilities not as punishment but a mutual effort to create a better and safer home.
You can find all kinds of exemplary chore charts, along with templates of weekly cleaning schedules out there, which aim to make the life of families easier. However, you may also discover that not everything works for your home and needs. There is no harm in testing some of those, of course, but it is always better to create a customised one. After all, every family is different and who knows better what yours needs than yourself.
Still, no matter how hard you try, you will come face-to-face with a messy house from time to time and that’s alright. The important thing is that you know how to tackle this as a team and work to improve every day.