I feel like I'm NEVER done with house work, HELP!! Any tips?

Renae - posted on 01/05/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I have a 3 year old and a walking 11 month old. The three year old is always getting toys out and the 11 month old OMG is into EVERYTHING!!! I guess it's a boy thing. I don't remember my little girl getting into as much as he does! I'm cleaning the kitchen and he's destroying the living room. Then I go to the living room and wrecks the kitchen. From the time I wake up till just before my head hits the pillow, l am constantly, constantly cleaning up after everyone! It's so exhausting!!! Will this get better as they get older?

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Javeia - posted on 01/05/2014

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Hi there Renae,

Your three year old is old enough to have some responsibilities. Little kids love helping out. Give him simple chores like making his bed, emptying small trash bins into the large trash, setting the table, or clearing dishes, etc. Give him a chart or make up some type of reward system. Have him do a certain task before the timer runs out.

If you don't start young, they will actually get worse when they get older. The 11 month old can actually help to put away toys into the bin.

If you need them occupied while you clean try cleaning during nap time have certain spaces for coloring, reading or watching a quick episode of some show they enjoy.

Set a schedule for you and your little ones and start tiny little habits together. For example, once you wake up make your bed. Abuse your crock pot and have them help fold laundry (even if it isn't perfect) this will teach them to appreciate cleanliness because they will be responsible for messes. Even things like spills give them the napkins and show them how to wipe things up.

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Maria - posted on 01/14/2014

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THE SHORT VERSION:
Thanks for asking this question! I have a 12 year old and I can tell you, you will be much happier if you teach your children to pick up after themselves while they are young. I particularly liked the "you take it out, you put it away" idea.
When I read that I had an Ah Ha! moment.My daughter who is very busy. She barely has time to do everything she needs to do for school and sports and music lessons. I don't feel like I can add chores to that. Today I realized that I don't need her to do chores, I don't need her to scrub toilets. I just need her to pick up after herself. That would free up so much time for me that I could do the deep cleaning and organizing that I never seem to have time for.
I went around the house today and posted signs everywhere saying "You Take It Out, You Put It Away" with a description underneath that says "shoes go in the basket or in the closet", or "If you use a blanket, fold it up and put it back", etc. I feel liberated!! Now let's see how well it works. :-)
THE LONG VERSION:
A word of caution tho. There needs to be a balance. You don't want to create an environment for your children that is so stressful that they are tiptoeing around afraid they might spill something on their shirt or mess something up. I've seen that way too often. And it's really sad.
I think sometimes stay at home moms have a lot of "Quantity Time", but very little "Quality TIme" with their kids. You're with them all the time, so you don't feel like you need to make up for lost time. It's easy to get so involved in the day to day chores that you forget to spend time with your child. I could alway tell when my daughter needed me to stop and spend time with her because she would start to misbehave which wasn't really her nature. Just setting aside whatever I was doing and focusing on her for a little while made a huge difference. And you can model the tidying behavior when you are done playing by putting the toys away together. It may seem like forever now, but they grow up so fast. Let them be kids. Let them get dirty. But also teach them how to clean up afterwards. (That's the part I didn't do so well ;-( ).
I've always been a stay at home mom and with only one child, I alway did all the cleaning and picking up myself. It wasn't so hard when she was young and we lived in a 900 sf condo. Now that she's older, she is so busy with school and sports and piano lessons that I feel like keeping up with her schedule and getting good grades is her job. It's been hard for me to ask her to clean when she has so many other things she needs to do. But we don't live in a condo anymore we live in a 3800 sf house. Which isn't huge, but big enough to keep me plenty busy.
As a result, our house is always a mess and I spend an unbelievable amount of time cleaning. It's so frustrating. No one picks up after themselves. My daughter never puts anything away. And I mean never. She takes her hair clips out and leave them on the floor. She always dresses in the family room and leave her pajamas on the floor. I pick up pens, and paper, and socks and a who knows what else from all over. She can never find her shoes, her coat, her cleats etc.
And my husband is almost as bad. You know how people argue about whether the toilet paper should roll from the bottom or the top? My husband doesn't even put it on the holder. He just balances it on top!
He once said to me…I don't vacuum because I don't like that self propelled vacuum. LOL. We don't have a self propelled vacuum and never have! I think I made him vacuum once when we were staying with my parents and they have one.The other day he asked me which one was the washer and which was the dryer! Are you starting to get the picture?
So we are all turning a new leaf! I really hope this works for several reasons:
1. Keeping things clean and organized is an important life skill that I need to teach my daughter.
2. I hate the mess. I'm not one who doesn't mind their messy house. I hate it with a passion!
3. I think I would have more time for my husband and I'm sure he would appreciate it. I usually have about 1/2 hour to spend with him per day.
5. I'd love to spend less time cleaning and more time living!
Good Luck everyone!

Danicia - posted on 01/06/2014

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I agree with Javeia- have your 3 yr old help out! we have a rule for our 2yr old; you take it out, you clean it up. it helps out A LOT to have her responsible for the messes she creates and is good for her in the long run to learn the responsibility.
another thing we did that I've noticed to help significantly is that we put her toys in her room. she can play with them, bring them out if she likes but everything must be in her room by the end of the day. some nights i'm particular about her room being clean other nights it's not as big of a priority.
for your 11 month old, start teaching him to pick up after himself. you may think he's too young but I started having our daughter pick up her toys (with my help) starting at 8 months (when she started walking and spreading toys around the house).
closing off/setting boundaries of certain parts of the house will also help. our daughter knows that unless she is throwing something away or helping cook, she doesn't need to be in the kitchen. same for the bathroom (potty, bath, and teeth are the only reasons to be in there).
I have seen friends who waited until their kids were older (like 5) to start working on picking up after themselves/responsibility of their items and it was NOT an easy lesson nor a fast one. teach them to pick up after they are done with an activity now and you will thank yourself much in the future! good luck! :)

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