Developing a Housekeeping ScheduleMarch 3, 2014 | in Housekeeping
If housework seems like an unending chore, it may be time to set a schedule. Although life gets in the way when transporting kids from one activity to the next, it is possible to get the house organized and relieve the stress of feeling like you are constantly in maid mode.
By setting expectations, building a chart and attaching rewards to household tasks, you may soon find yourself looking forward to an hour or two of cleaning.
If it feels as if mom, dad or the nanny is the only one cleaning up after the family, it’s time to set some expectations and make some changes in your household. “Everyone needs to agree on the outcome and realize that everyone wants a clean house,” says Leslie Reichert, cleaning coach and author of The Joy of Green Cleaning.
“If everyone doesn’t agree it’s nice to have the house picked up every night, then no schedule will work,” says Reichert.
Begin by scheduling a family meeting to discuss the importance of a clean living environment. Ask your children to point out dangers that could exist if the counters are cluttered or the floors are dirty. From germs that gather to obstacles that could result in someone tripping or falling, your family needs to be aware of how unsanitary areas could cause harm.
Consider Time and Capabilities
Once expectations are set, consider what each family member is capable of cleaning on a regular basis. Age-appropriate chores are crucial. “I tell my family that things are never equal but they are always fair,” says Reichert. “Older children need to be more responsible for larger tasks than their younger siblings.”
Ask each child what she is capable of doing around the house and make a list of preferred chores. Giving your child a choice may help reduce whines, cries and attitudes that often accompany daily chores.
As you discuss capabilities, keep in mind that parents and nannies need to be good examples for children and a primary part of the housekeeping schedule. “Children shouldn’t be the worker bees,” says Reichert. “Everyone should have a task and a time to do it.”
When it comes to timing, evaluate each family member’s responsibilities outside of the home before compiling a schedule. Does your teenager work evenings or have after-school activities? Do your little ones take naps at a certain time during the day? Figure out activity schedules so that everyone will have enough time to do their fair share.
“My daughters always played school soccer, which practiced every day after school,” says Reichert. “I could never give them the chore of emptying the dishwasher because there wasn’t time in their day to do it, but they were responsible on the weekends.”
Even though not many people enjoy completing household tasks, if you present a housekeeping schedule in a negative manner, it will only encourage gripes and moans. Don’t think of chores as obstacles, recommends Reichert. “They are just opportunities to work together to figure out what works for your family,” she says. “Make the schedule a positive with fun rewards for doing their share of the chores.”
Families can establish a chore chart with a point system tied to privileges and rewards or a schedule that must be completed with deadlines met before the family takes an outing or dives into a family movie night. The key is to find rewards that will motivate everyone.
“Sometimes, it’s just about working out a system that works for everyone,” says Reichert. “For example, I can’t stand having dishes in the sink, so every morning I empty the dishwasher and run the dishwasher every night so there are no excuses. It’s now a habit and everyone knows the dishwasher is always ready for dirty dishes.”
Once all family members have determined their daily or weekly tasks and specific times when the chores must be completed, do your best to make it fun. Young children may prefer to dance and sing with music on in the background while older children may enjoy a race to the finish to see who can complete the most tasks in a certain amount of time.
Primarily, make your housekeeping schedule a routine so cleaning feels less like a chore and more like a natural thing to do to better the home.← Age Appropriate Household Chores for Children | Housekeeping Hacks for Busy Moms →
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