Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Ask the Experts: What are Your Housekeeping Routines and How do the Children Help?


The Seton Experts offer family-friendly solutions to everyday problems that are simple, practical, and tempered by love.

A Cleaning Schedule Helps…


I have a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly cleaning schedule. Here are the nuts and bolts of it:

1. Find a routine that works for you. For me, that means daily: kitchen cleaned, bathrooms given a quick wipe down, floor swept, etc. On Mondays, all beds are stripped and linens washed. On Tuesdays, bathrooms are deep cleaned and mopped. On Wednesdays, we dust and vacuum. On Thursdays, the kitchen is deep cleaned, the fridge is cleaned out, and the windows are washed. Fridays are catch-up and grocery shopping.

2. Get your kids and husband involved. My husband and I agree that if you live here, you help with the upkeep.
From the time they learned colors, I had my littles help matching socks. Toddlers can be taught to put their toys away.

3. Lower (some) standards. As homeschooling moms, we have 3 to 6 full-time jobs: chauffeur, cook, teacher, housekeeper, appointment maker, etc. But everything can not be done every day. And that is ok. Remember the story of Mary and Martha. I can be “type A,” and it hit me hard many years ago when I realized my kids would not remember if the kitchen was clean, but they would remember mom screaming at them.

4. Don’t be afraid to outsource. There are some jobs I pay my kids to do, like folding the never-ending laundry. They get to earn money (and we teach them accounting, and they learn to save, spend, and donate, but that’s another column). I have less work to do. Everyone wins!

Kristin Brown, Virginia

Routine Makes Things Easier…


Routine is key when it comes to keeping my household tidy and organized. Additionally, the adage “a place for everything and everything in its place” has long been a guiding principle.

First, in full disclosure, I enjoy cleaning. Seriously, I derive a sense of peace, pleasure, and well-being from wiping, scrubbing, vacuuming, and organizing.

If I were psychoanalyzing myself (or if Dr. Ray got involved), I’d find that peace comes from simple pleasures like being able to walk across the living room without being impaled on a Lego. I’ve learned that wiping, scrubbing, vacuuming, and organizing are required to enjoy those simple pleasures.

Since life is busy and I have had lots of children, following a routine has been a sanity-saver. For example, every single Thursday for decades now, I wash the bed sheets. It unfolds like clockwork. When we wake up on Thursdays, everyone strips their bed and deposits their sheets in the laundry room. On Thursday evening, they grab their clean sheets and make their beds. There’s no arguing, begging, nagging, or negotiating. The routine has become second nature to everyone.

Once upon a time, I was the person stripping the sheets and remaking the clean beds for my little ones. However, as they grew, I kept up the routine and incorporated them into it. They began as helpers and progressed to assuming full responsibility.

Having easy-to-access containers, like pretty baskets, plastic tubs, or organized shelves, helps facilitate keeping spaces tidy. My living room has a large basket to hold blankets and a few smaller cubes to house gaming equipment. Most everything has an assigned place, and putting it there cuts down on mess and confusion (“Hey, Mom, where’s my…?).

In combination, having a static routine (like sheets get washed on Thursdays) and a place for everything (blankets go in the basket) equates to clearly defined expectations and manageable ways to meet those expectations.

Tara Brelinsky, North Carolina

Many Hands Make Light Work…

Many hands make light work, and, in a large family, it is a blessing. There are more loads of laundry, more dishes, and more messes, but there are more people to help clean it up, too. I have always had the routine of doing my chores on certain days and at certain times to make the day run smoothly.

As the children were able to help, they acquired some of the household chores. I wash the laundry, but the kids fold their clothes after dinnertime. When we had a dishwasher, each child was assigned a particular day of the week to load and empty it as their chore. I am currently handling the dish washing because it is easier for me to do.

On Saturdays, particular children have the chores of vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning their bathroom and the powder room. Emptying the trash and outside chores are done by the boys as needed. There are always chores to do, and when each person knows their job, it is easier to ensure it gets done.

Susan Brock, Virginia

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