Monday, January 21, 2008

Joyful Housekeeping

Some one at Tidal Home Schooling was asking about this, so this is an expanded answer. How do you get all the chores done without whining and fighting? We are a work in progress with this, and we do NOT have a spotless house cleaned automatically by merry minions (every home schoolers ultimate goal, right?). But, we are clean enough to be comfortable and happy, and my kids don't generally complain about chores.

Here's what I've learned so far: I've found that 5 and up respond well to the concept of "fair." It really isn't fair to expect you to do all the work or live in squalor. We talk about why we do chores and how we want to live. Below 5 they want to do chores to be a Big Guy. There are chores like vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms which you are not allowed to do until you are 5!

Also, teach cleaning just as you would teach any other skill: modeling, guided practice and gradual release of responsibility. Sometimes I team a rookie with an older child.

I have the younger kids do chores related to things they will want to do (ie they will want to eat, so setting the table/doing dishes makes sense, they want to wear clothes, so laundry, they want to use the bathroom... you get the idea!).

Some chores we do together as a team (like folding laundry, I have the fastest laundry folding team east of the Mississippi), some we do in blocks, see here for the block explanation.

One fun way to do a big (overwhelming) job like a disaster room is this: pull out a fun game and before each turn pick up 5 things. Another good no-nag thing is to set a timer either to get dressed/set the table/clean the bathroom in X minutes, or, if you have a bunch of kids, every 10 minutes switch jobs!

Lastly, when you get a big job done, celebrate!

1 comment:

Michelle Waters said...

thanks for the ideas - (and the gratuitous cute toddler photo!)