As a full-time working mother of three young kids, I often feel like I can’t keep up with the household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and making sure my family’s needs are taken care of. Putting away my kids’ toys? It’s a chore I do not like—and apparently, neither do my kids.
Last year, we eliminated our formal dining area and created a playroom for our kids. This way, they have a place to put everything (in theory) and after a play date, their rooms don’t look like a tornado hit. The problem? Now the playroom needs serious picking up at the end of the day.
I think of family as a team. Household chores shouldn’t fall on one person. Each family member must take responsibility and help; otherwise there will be chores left undone and a stressed mami folding laundry at 2 a.m. while everyone else sleeps.
Even the youngest of children can begin to learn and pitch in. My daughter has been helping me fold laundry since she was a toddler. She knows her dress-up clothes need to be hung up. My son knows his LEGOs go in a 5-gallon bucket.
Start by giving your kids a small task—like matching socks, putting toys into a toy bin, placing laundry inside the washer or matching silverware when unloading the dishwasher.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Give each child a specific task that becomes his responsibility. This will help him know what he needs to do and when—soon he’ll begin taking pride in his achievements. Chores like unloading the dishwasher or sweeping the kitchen floor are easy enough for children under 10 to handle without issue. You can also have them empty the garbage or be responsible for sorting the recyclables. The simplest way to start delegating and sharing in the teamwork is by assigning tasks. Once you do, a chart or calendar as a visual will keep everyone on track. This way, you can keep track of who is doing what and reward accordingly.
Read Related: How to Clean Your Home in 20 Minutes
No one wants to spend their Saturday mornings doing all the cleaning. Try spreading it out throughout the week. If you spend 15-20 minutes a day tackling a chore, then you won’t have to spend hours doing all of it later.
KEEPING TRACK OF IT ALL
Assign Monday as the day to wash towels and clean bathrooms, for example. Tuesday can be for the kitchen and dining area—mop the floor, clean the fridge door and stove top. Wednesday is Family Room Day. Everyone must help pick up toys, vacuum, dust, go through the pile of newspaper and magazines stacked on the coffee table and recycle accordingly. Thursday is for bedrooms—change sheets, pick up toys and sweep or vacuum. Friday can a lighter day, with some dusting and vacuuming, and then let the weekend and relaxation begin!
Do a load of laundry each night so you don’t have piles stacked up for the weekend. Divide and conquer. Someone needs to be responsible for starting a load and then putting it into the dryer. Another person should be responsible for folding and then taking the clothing to their respective rooms, for each family member to then put away in drawers and closets.
Keeping up with the many household chores is not an easy task for anyone, but especially not for a working mother. However, it’s not so bad if your “team” can help. The key to success is being consistent and being firm with your children. It will take time for everyone to get on board, but eventually it can become a part of your household routine.