I did not major in maidology in college, (yes I just made that word up) so I choose not to be one for the rest of my life!
Prior to having kids, my house was sparkling clean. Not only was it clean, but it stayed that way (blows my mind just thinking of it).
Now that children have left my womb and invaded my house, it hasn’t been that easy. The moment the living room is clean, books, Legos, Barbie dolls, socks, and crayons are sprawled on the floor. What just happened here? Didn’t we just discuss how we were going to keep this room clean at least until daddy comes home?
With toys and items placed everywhere, I found myself picking up after two kids. I would clean up THEIR toys and place them in a bin to take upstairs. I would clean the table after THEY ate. I also washed THEIR clothes, folded THEIR laundry, and packed THEIR lunches. And then it dawned on me…why am I doing their responsibilities?
According to Psychology Today, “children who have household responsiblities are more likely to step up and help others outside the home.” I want my children to be responsible adults, to be helpful, and to realize they can make a difference by stepping up in any situation.
So I stopped. When my kids were 2 and 4, I stumbled upon a pin on Pinterest similar to this one and realized that things needed to change. How did I do it? Below are 4 strategies I use and hopefully they can help you too.
#1 Tell them what you want them to do
#2 Have high expectations,
#3 Be consistent, and
#4 Don’t give up.
Tell Them What You Want Them To Do:
In order for a child to do something, they need to know what is expected of them and how to do it. At the very young age of 2, children are able to follow demands. Clearly state what you want, show them how to do it, and allow them to practice.
So, I didn’t pick up after them.
I showed them how and where I want toys, clothes, shoes, and craft items to be placed. As long as they have a dedicated place for everything that belongs to them, they can place it in it’s spot. When I introduce a new ‘procedure’ of how to put away things, I practice it with them and I have them show me in return how to do it.
I also don’t do their laundry.
Okay, so I still put in the detergent and softer (I do want clean clothes) but they do the rest. I showed them how to do it and they know what is expected. They bring their clothes down to the laundry room, load the washer, load the dryer, take their clothes upstairs and I ‘assist’ in folding. I just recently taught them how to use the Kondo method for folding. My son does so well with this method while my 5 year old might need a little more training from Marie herself…but I’m not stressing she’s learning. As long as she can get her clothes in the dryer is a step in the right direction.
Have High Expectations
My expectations are very high for my children. I expect that they can do what is asked of them and I won’t give them a task that I know they can’t handle.
For example, I will not pick up after them. If it is not picked up I will NOT pick it up for them. I remind them to take care of their belongings or it belongs to me. I did that with my sons Legos. He once left them on the floor after I reminded him twice to pick them up. I took them for 3 days!…Let’s just say he learned his lesson.
In order for your expectations to work, you have to be consistent. You can’t expect them to clear the table 2 days in a row and then do it for them the rest of the week. This confuses them and makes them realize that you are not serious about what you expect. When they say kids are smart, THEY ARE! You are their number one textbook in life and they are reading you daily.
I taught my kids, 2 and 4 year old at the time, that they are more than able to carry their finished plate and cup to the kitchen sink. They can also wipe the crumbs off around their area. At first, I said “Where does your plate belong?” about 6 times a day. At times I didn’t want to nag and I would just do it but I had to remind myself what I was trying to teach them. Now 3 years later, I don’t say a word. It has become a daily habit.
Don’t Give Up
Where we are today did not come easy. As stated earlier, I wanted to just clean up after them. I didn’t feel like being the mom who kept reminding them to clean. Instead, I had to remind myself that I can’t have teenagers in my house in about 7-8 years who I’m still cleaning up after.