Teaching Kids About Keeping Home Neat

by Beckie
(Plymouth, IN USA)

How do I teach my three kids to help keep our home, particularly the living room and kitchen, neat and orderly?

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Jan 27, 2010
Teaching Kids About Keeping Home Neat
by: -The Organizer

Hi Beckie,

It can be a challenge to teach your kids to keep your home neat and orderly. Believe me, I've tried different approaches over the years. By far the most successful approach regardless of age goes like this...

First, talk non-confrontationally to your kids about why it's important to YOU that your home is kept neat and orderly. Try not to "lecture". Just share from the heart why it's important to you.

Let them know that you are going to start a new routine. Explain that on a certain day, everyday, or once a week (depending on your time available) the 4 of you will clean together for 15 minutes.

Schedule this time on your family calendar.

Next explain that when the 4 of you clean together for 15 minutes - and I mean really clean (pick up, put away, whatever) that it's like getting 1 HOUR of cleaning done!

Tell them that you will be "the boss" and you will set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, they're done. Really.

Once the timer is set, you'll start telling them what to do (i.e., put these glasses by the sink, sweep the kitchen, stack the magazines and put them in a neat pile on this table, dust the bookshelf, clean the patio door, etc.).

Make the chores age appropriate and keep an eye on who is dawdling, disappearing for five minutes while putting a towel away and keep everyone busy for every minute of the 15 minutes.

When the timer goes off, the kids get to stop. If you stick with stopping as soon as the timer goes off they will know that next time all they have to do is help for 15 minutes. That's it. Believe me, this is HARD! If your child is in the midst of emptying the dishwasher and the timer goes off, you may be tempted to make them finish. But if you stick to stopping when the timer goes off - no matter what - it won't be long until the next time you are done with a 15 minute cleaning session that your child says "I'll just finish this Mom" and hearing this will be music to your ears. :-)

Teaching your kids to help keep your home neat and orderly is important because you are teaching them important life skills. Your home doesn't have to be in perfect order at all times but a family is a team and everyone should help out with work that needs doing around the home.

I hope this approach works for you and your family and I'd love it if you would come back and let us know how it goes or if you have ideas for making the 15 minute cleaning session even more effective.

Busy moms want to know!

-The Organizer

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