Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Teaching Our "Best Organizers" to Clean

As far back as I can remember, my mom always, always cleaned house on Saturday. And, as far back as I can remember, the girls helped! I suppose since the three oldest were girls, the boys never had to help, but I'm not really sure. I just remember when the youngest (me) was included in the Saturday ritual. Usually, all of the jobs were written on slips of paper and then all those participating chose equal amounts of slips as their jobs for the day. Sometimes, if all participants agreed to it, jobs were chosen verbally. Job descriptions varied - it could be as specific as "dust living room" "sweep steps"... Or as general as "living room" (dust, pick up, sweep...)

When my 2 oldest were probably 3 and 5 (boy and a girl), I began following in my mom's foot steps. Saturday meant cleaning, and cleaning meant slips of paper with jobs! I remember choosing 4 - 6 jobs they could do and letting them pick out the papers. Oh, it was big stuff! :) Gradually, they did more and more jobs until I rarely did any of the dusting and sweeping! They must have been only 5 and 7 by that time!

I must insert here that I'm not very picky. (Probably not as picky as I should be!) So, usually if company was coming, I lent a hand to make sure corners were done a little more thoroughly, etc. :) I was always in charge of the kitchen and bathroom while they did the other rooms.

I never understood why the youngest children in the family ended up spoiled and not as industrious......I do now! It is so easy to just let the older ones keep doing the work!! My youngest are 6 and 5 and I can't imagine them running the sweeper like the oldest two had to have been doing at their age! Of course it only complicates matters to have older siblings bossing younger ones and all that goes with that. What chance do the youngest have, really?? ;) My mom was always on my side in these matters, beings she was also the youngest. When someone would make the smart remark about the youngest being spoiled she would always say, "Well it wasn't my fault if I got spoiled!"

After not having my own house for a year, and now having a very small one, I'm not nearly as strict with the Saturday ritual. I still stick with that method mostly, and I'm trying to include the younger ones in the slips of papers these days. Now they're the ones thinking it's big stuff! They go in stages, you know. First they beg to help with things, and every job given makes them feel very important! Then they switch to it being the most awful thing to be asked to pick up toys - "I just don't eeeven knooow where to staaart!!" (Said in the most pathetic, hopeless way imaginable!) There is hope! My worst picker upper is becoming one of my best lately, and sometimes I just have to stop and marvel that this is the same child! Most of it is just age making a difference, but I'm sure it's also sticking to it and making them help even when they think it's awful.

So, do your children help clean house? What is your method?

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