Cleaning – for some people it’s passion! (If that sounds like you – we’d love to hear from you 🙂 Why don’t you fill in our contact form and say hello?) But for others it is just part of the daily and weekly routines and something that sometimes needs to squeezed in when you have time around seeing to the kids – which, let’s be honest, is a full time job in itself.
We know this isn’t easy so we asked our friend Sheryl how she copes. Sheryl has two children, a full time job and one of the cleanest houses we’ve ever had the pleasure to drink tea in. When she mentioned that her children help keep the place spic and span we asked her if she would give us a few tips. Here is what she told us:
“I used to try and clean around the children trying to battle with them to move their toys, sit up on the couch while I hoovered and stop fighting with each other all whilst vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows and the list of other things that I have to do. You see I quite enjoy cleaning and from a young age my mother taught me how important it was to have a clean and tidy house. My friends ask how I manage to keep it so clean and tidy with 2 children but really it is quite simple. We have rules and routine and we stick to them and none of us really like to be surrounded by dirt and mess. “
“One way of ensuring that the kids became conscious of being clean and tidy was involving them when I did the housework. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t arm them with marigolds and a bottle of cleaner and send them off to do tasks that involved risk and I don’t get them hoovering the stairs but I do encourage them to do their bit so they can learn and pick up these good habits at a young age.”
How to incorporate “odd socks” into your cleaning routine?
“I know I am lucky to have a 6 year old that regularly cleans but in our house this is her weekly task. Every Saturday morning she dons her apron and with a pair of socks on her hand she sets to work dusting the lounge and her own bedroom. We don’t use the socks that they wear I should point out. We, like most households, seem to have an unlimited supply of ‘odd’ socks. Don’t ask me how it happens. We all know the odd sock conundrum. They go in the wash and only one comes out. I am convinced there is some sort of function built into washing machines that disintegrates one sock. Anyway instead of throwing them away I have an odd sock system! I know, perhaps too much time on my hands but it works. I keep the odd socks in a basket for a couple of weeks until I know I have washed every item in the laundry bin. I almost do a little dance every time I find a pair. Once it is clear that the other half of the pair is gone for good they become our “dusters”. I have a rather varied supply but we put them to good use.”
Whilst they are busy dusting you can get your chores done
“So whilst she is busy dusting the picture frames, ornaments and the television which attracts more dust than anything I have ever known I get on with the window cleaning and hoovering. Sometimes we pop some songs on the iPod and dance along whilst cleaning, other times we just chat about what we are going to have to eat after we have finished. What started out as me cleverly trying to keep the kids entertained has turned into a weekly event where there is no television and it is just us spending time together.”
Rewarding the older children
“It doesn’t continue like this for long. As the mother of 2 children my eldest who is 12 very quickly learned that she could profit from helping me with the housework. Now she gets a monthly allowance but she has to earn it. I am happy to report that she is very thorough when it comes to hoovering and when I am rushing around like a mad thing and I need the hoovering done 9 times out of 10 she does it without any fuss.”
So what can you do to get the children involved?
“For the younger children dig out the odd socks, find them an apron and give them a little weekly task that is theirs and only theirs to be responsible for. For the older children work out a rewards system and give them their own responsibility. Hoovering is great for those that old enough to manoeuvre it without damaging the skirting boards but cleaning windows with vinegar and newspaper is something that most kids can do. Give them a reward if they manage to do it without streaks. Make it fun – put on the music and dance along. You will soon learn to look forward to the daily or weekly cleaning events.”
Thanks to Sheryl and family for their help with this article.
Now, what did we do with those odd socks…..?