Life as a parent is busy. We juggle work, errands, school activities and time with friends and family. The last thing we want to think about is a chore list, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need our attention. Here are some tips to cut chores in half:
Make a cleaning schedule
A cleaning schedule helps to assign time for chores to be completed without them imposing on our free time. Jennifer Klindworth, mom to twin girls, says, “I keep Mondays free of things we have to do outside the home. This is when I get all the laundry done. I usually clean the house towards the end of the week so I can enjoy the weekend.” Having a day set aside for certain chores helps organize the week, so that your to-do list doesn’t become overwhelming.
Get the kids involved
Children can pitch in on chores at an early age. Preschoolers can dust floorboards and furniture, school age children can load the dishwasher and help with laundry, and teens, with practice and guidance, can lend a hand in almost any area. Robin Proskovec of Scranton, PA says, “I have the older two do daily chores to earn their allowance. They cannot do any electronics until they are done, so they are usually pretty motivated.” Teaching kids to help with family chores not only keeps the house in order, but also has lasting value. “Children over the age of 5 have daily chores. We start with learning something simple like putting t-shirts on hangers, folding towels, or putting away silverware. We rotate chores, but try to help them progress in skill too. The idea is that they are ready to take care of a household when they leave home,” says Krystal Laws, mother of seven.
Do dishes and pick up clutter daily so the stacks do not get out of control. Helen Ransom from Kansas City says, “My husband and I are both dedicated to taking the first twenty minutes after putting the kids to bed to cleaning up - dishes, floors, start a load of laundry, and bathrooms on rotation.” Setting aside 15-20 minutes each day to maintain the house makes a huge difference. Those few minutes spent tidying up, allows you to enjoy your downtime even more. “If my kitchen is clean, I feel like I am ahead of the game. Every night before going to bed I prep lunches for the next day, put away clean dishes, and reload the dishwasher,” says Kim Barnette, Overland Park mom of two. It is much easier to maintain a clean house when you keep up on the items that pile up quickly, but take little time to do each day.