Homeschooling is a challenging lifestyle. Between teaching the older ones, managing my littlest ones, and making meals, I have little time to myself.
However, that’s not all that needs to be done. My kids being home all day greatly contributes to the messiness of my house, yet cleaning while they are around is difficult.
One of the ongoing battles I face is trying to get my kids to do their fair share of clean up.
Here are some methods I have tried and what worked and didn’t work about each one:
1. Chore Charts
My husband decorated a white board with each kid’s name and the responsibilities of each in hopes that the kids would go through and check off their chores as they completed them. The kids were at first excited about it, but they soon lost interest.
It ended up requiring a lot of my time and attention to enforce. It was also a bit much for the younger kids, who had a hard time doing several chores and school work all before play time. My then three year old started to use the chore chart as a coloring board, which was when I decided it was time to stop.
I did like that it kept the older kids more organized and let them know what to do without asking me.
2. Room Captains
Another system I tried was designating each kid as a “captain” of a room in the common areas. Each kid would have to maintain cleanliness in his assigned room.
This worked out well for the living room because the kids know how to pick up clutter. However, the kitchen and bathroom captains had to work a lot harder and were too young to give the rooms a good clean. This caused fighting about fairness of the tasks.
I would much rather clean the house than deal with the kids arguing about their chores, and then still have to clean the house myself because they were unable to clean well enough.
3. Group Clean on a Weekly Schedule
In this system, Saturday was bedroom cleaning day, Monday was a major laundry day, and another day of the week was mopping day. This worked out pretty well.
My kids do better when they clean together because they don’t feel like they are missing out on something fun. I still use this system on a regular basis for laundry.
Every Monday, I wash and dry the clothes and then dump the clean clothes on the couch. The kids have to pull their clothes out and put them away.
Then, they have to match a certain number of socks before they can play.
4 Five Minute Cleanup
This is another one of my favorites. The kids complain about it, but they do a good job still. At night, we set the timer for five minutes and they put away left out objects as fast as they can. The younger ones work on toys while my oldest gets started on dishes.
This works really well for clutter and helps reduce the floor mess before I deep clean.
Five minute cleanup also seems to be a dad-friendly cleaning method. My husband has the time to enforce this method after work so I don’t have to supervise.
5. ’15 Tidy-Up’
This is what we do when we have company over or I just want a little more order. Each kid has to pick up fifteen things and put them in their actual spots, not just in a pile like they like to do.
The kids do a nice job on this and the house looks much better afterwards.
I know that I will never have a perfectly tidy house, but by experimenting with the above strategies, I have maintained a reasonably clean house and have helped my kids learn responsibility.