Have you ever looked up from your comfy chair while reading a book and suddenly realized that
while you were enjoying a few minutes to yourself that the house has been renovated by your children into a level four danger zone. Are you constantly cleaning up after your family?
There are some well meaning mistakes that mom’s can make when it comes to taking care of the mess at home.
1. We don’t think that anyone can clean up as well as we can unless they are a professional.
2. I will just get “the look” from my family or “the huff” if I ask them to help me. (This can be true with certain age groups but pretend you don’t see it)
3. I will never be able to find anything after other people move my stuff.
4. My house should be clean all the time.
To tackle this we need to do the dreaded…just let some of the control go. This can be a nail biting, anxiety ridden moment for those of us who like to be the lead lady at home. (Cough, cough…yes maybe that could be me…a little) Delegating doesn’t have to be a bad word. Here are some things that I have learned by encouraging my three children and husband (who would rather be cooking) to help around the house.
1. Start young. Everyone can do something even if it’s to pick up toys or return dishes to the kitchen. If your family has been clearing the clutter from birth then it becomes part of their family habits which will eventually show up when they are not in your presence or even in your home.
2. Pick your time. Choose to clean up the same time each day and for a specific amount of time. Use a timer if you can. When implementing a new habit, start with a small amount of time like ten minutes and then build from there.
3. Everything has a home. Communicate with your family about where you want things stored but be happy if it makes it very close.
4. Make it fun. Can you turn it into a game? “How much stuff can you clean in the next five minutes…and Go!” “Everyone pick up ten items in this room that don’t belong here and put them away…and Go!”
5. Rewards. Those who work together should play together or even better, eat together. I like to have a treat ready for when the job is accomplished. Nothing too fancy because it’s not about the food, but snacks to say thank you and I appreciate you helping the family home look great.
6. Repeat. Keep up the good work and make it a habit. Same time, same place every week. It can take over thirty times before a habit is made.
From cleaning out the backpacks as soon as they arrive in the door, to getting the toys off the floor and into appropriate containers, getting your house tidy can be a family affair if you are looking for a family experience and not perfection. Our homes are a place to live life and be comfortable. I’m not looking for extreme cleanliness but I do want to be able to walk though a room without tripping. I also want my family to learn to take care of what they have. What better lesson for them to learn than for me to just put the toys down and to ask for help…
How are you getting your family to participate in the tidy up time? Can you let go of the control?