Thursday, December 17, 2015

How I clean with kids


                                          Photo by AKARAKINGDOMS  at www.freedigitalphotos.net



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Ever tried cleaning with kids around? It's hard isn't it? You pick up one mess, while they are off somewhere making two more. By the end of the day you're exhausted because you've cleaned all day, yet you feel like you have nothing to show for it, except an even bigger mess.
It can be very frustrating trying to keep a clean house with kids. They have a ton of toys that always seems to find their way into the living room. (At least that's how it is at our house.)

Here are some ways I keep our house clean with kids. Don't get me wrong, it's lived in. We do not have a magazine worthy clean house, but it's manageable.

Get them involved.

My husband and I have 3 kids, all boys. Our oldest child is 9, our middle child is 3, and our youngest is 1.
Our oldest has a set list of daily chores that must be done before play. On school days it's maybe one or two chores daily. On the weekends he has more free time, so he is able to help out more. 

Our middle child is responsible for helping make his bed, putting his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, taking his dishes to the sink, helping clean up any spills he makes, putting his toys away, and any other age appropriate chores.  He is learning to wipe the table before and after meals, and help sweep up crumbs with his Little Helper Broom Set..

Our youngest is learning to help pick up the toys. He can't quite sing the clean up song, but he will hum along a bit, while the other two sing.

Limit the amount of toys they have.

Each year before birthdays and before Christmas, we go through and donate any toys our kids no longer play with. Throw away broken toys or toys with missing pieces. Yet still they seem to have WAY TOO MUCH! One thing that helps us out is we decided to rotate their toys every so often. Not only does this help on clutter, but kids can get overwhelmed if they have too much. They don't really spend time playing with the toys, just dragging them out and not wanting to clean them up. When we rotate our kids toys they don't get bored with them as fast. They actually play with them, and when we rotate the toys and they see toys they haven't seen in a while, it's like Christmas all over, they are so excited. 

Get and stay organized!!

There needs to be a place for everything so that when you are finished you can put it back. This makes it easier to find things, and it looks a lot nicer. Tools to help you get organized

Make it fun.

We try to make it fun for our kids. Make it a game and race to see who can pick up the toys the fastest. Turn on some music and dust, vacuum, sweep, do the dishes or fold the dreaded laundry. 

Keep them busy.

Once in a while there are chores my kids just can not help me with yet. My husband and I try to tackle most of these chores together after the kids have gone to bed. Yet sometimes they just have to be done sooner. If my husband is home we tag team. He might take the kids outback to play, while I clean with bleach or sweep and mop the floors. I might do a craft or play a game with them while my husband does yard work, or works with power tools in his garage. (The kids are learning to do yard work and help daddy with certain projects, but some things they are still too young for. )
When all else fails we let them watch a movie or play a video game while the baby naps and we do what needs to be done. 

Clean as you go.

Anyone who cooks or bakes knows that it is so much easier to clean up as you go. Rather than having a huge mess afterwards. When you're done with something simply put it back. Make this a rule for your kids to follow. 

Have a routine.

When you have a routine, your day flows a lot smoother. You already know what you need to do and your kids know what to expect. How to set up a routine.

Don't try to do everything.

Delegate some chores that you normally do to someone else who can handle it. Maybe you normally are in charge of dinner. Delegate that to your husband for a night or two. Have your older children help with dishes and after dinner clean up. 

Give yourself grace. 

This sort of goes along with the last one. You are human. Things come up, unexpected things. Maybe the kids are sick. It is more important to nurse them back to health, than driving yourself crazy trying to take care of sick kids and make sure everything gets done. 

Let them be little.

Take a break and have a lazy day. Spend the entire day pouring into your kids. Everyone deserves a break, and they grow up so fast. Enjoy these years while you can. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to deal with interruptions when you're on the phone



"Mom, mom". My son called as I was chatting away on the phone.  "One minute love." I said, as I was trying to finish my conversation. Waiting as patiently as he could for a 3 Year old, a few minutes later I hear again.... "Mom, mom look at this." He kept repeating and repeating louder and louder until I could no longer hear the person I was talking to. I was getting frustrated. All of the sudden I yelled "shut up. Can't you see that I'm on the phone?" I watched my little boys excitement and smiling face fade into a frown, as he bowed his head and walked away.

It broke my heart. Immediately I finished my conversation and went to apologize for my behavior.  Of course I want my kids to learn to not interrupt.  Of course I want them to be respectful. However my behavior was only teaching him that I didn't have time and I was angry. I was also not being very respectful. 

When I asked what he needed, he simply wanted to show me a Lego creation he was so proud of. Somehow now it didn't seem that great to him anymore because I had already broken his spirit.
Our kids will only be kids for a short while. These are precious years that we will never get back.

Since this happened I have tried to think of different ways to not only be courteous to my caller, but also let my child know I have not forgotten them. Then I remembered something. In high school I went to a trade school and took care and guidance of children, we had an instructor who, if she was talking and a child would interrupt she would place her hand on the child's shoulder or back to let them know she heard them, and she would finish what she was saying, then turn her attention to the child. Genius! Will this always work? No. However with practice your child will learn not to interrupt. 

You could also talk to your child and let them know that in an emergency situation it is okay to interrupt but teach them the correct way to go about it. Excuse me......, Sorry to interrupt........ etc.

 Today I encourage you to spend a little bit of extra time with your child. Have a little more patience with your child, especially when it's hard to. Talk to your child about interrupting and how to interrupt politely.