Our bellies are full, our Friday night buffet of
left-over's are all eaten. We sit at the table, relaxed from a
full week of school and work. "Who wants to help pick up?"
"Me! Me!" The two girls practically fight over who
gets to pick up my plate and glass. Quickly, the three of us
clear the table, put dishes in the dishwasher, and wipe off the
counters. I give one of them a Swiffer to do the floors, the
other a wipe to clean the dining table.
Okay. Pause. I know what you're thinking….Those
kids must be crazy to really like helping clean up. Well, maybe
so, but at least it gets done. And I'm not doing it all by
myself. Here are some simple tips to make picking up fun and easy
for a whole family.
First of all, get in on the fun! Kids see what
their parents do. We are their role models. If we wait a few days
to do those dishes (yuck, I know), then our kids are going to
wait a few days to clean out their lunchboxes. Doing it together
counts as quality time, and it gets done much quicker. For little
ones, don't worry if they didn't get that ketchup smudge off the
table just right. At least they're making the effort.
Next, make it fun! Get excited about cleaning.
Turn on some Aerosmith…. Or whatever music gets you up and
moving. Did you know that you can actually burn calories moving
around a kitchen? Yep!
Get organized. I have a rule in my house: kids
toys stay in their rooms, adult toys stay in our rooms (yes, I do
mean those kind of toys, too). If a toy finds its way
into the living room or another room, it gets put into a box for
a week. That toy is in "time-out". Let's just say not many toys
get put into time-out very often. Get plastic shoe boxes to
organize things. Clean out clutter. It's never fun to clean up
after someone else. If it's there for more than a day, it gets
put into the time-out box.
Do a little every day. Even if it's just for
fifteen minutes, get something done each day. A load of laundry,
doing a quick sweep of the floor, or even just random picking up
around the house.
For those big-day clean ups: Ugh, it's time for
the dusting, vacuuming, and toilet cleaning. Depending upon a
kids age, they're big enough to help with most of these big
chores. Give them a baby wipe. Yep, a baby wipe. Those things can
actually clean quite a bit. I buy those things in bulk. Put on
the music, open the windows to air things out, and have fun with
There are kids who don't like to clean their own
rooms. I have two of those. They're quick to help around the
house, but their rooms look like they've been hit by a tornado. I
have two rules about that. Play with one item at a time. When
you're done, you must pick it up before going on to another toy.
Two: What you don't want to pick up, goes to the Salvation Army.
About once a month, I usually have a good trash bag full of stuff
going to the Salvation Army. Apparantly they didn't really like
those toys anyway.
So, how about it? Get off your butt and go get
some cleaning up done! Get the whole house in on it. It's not as
bad as you think it is, and it's actually fun for the whole
family. Think about the quality time you get to spend together
when it's all and done with.