The best piece of advice I received when Mr. Muscles and I married was from my mom. She said, “Start as you mean to continue.”
In other words, you cannot have expectations of someone, suddenly change them, and expect that person to meet those new expectations. It is not going to happen and that change can be incredibly difficult.
I found this statement to be especially true when it comes to our children. They cannot meet our expectations if they do not know what those expectations are. It can be a huge disservice to not have any expectations of children at all.
One area I find expectations to be vital in is cleaning up. When children learn how to clean up and organize, they learn to take pride in their work, they learn how to live in a clean area rather than a dirty one, and they learn how to exceed those expectations. These are wonderful opportunities for praise from us and growth in our children!
A common question I get (other than the ones about the number of children we have) is about how we assign chores and who gets what. Awesome question!
This is where “start as you mean to continue” comes into play.
Each of the children are responsible for an assigned area, and, of course, their own rooms and belongings.
Let’s start with the second youngest, Ms. Dimples (2). While she cannot be assigned an area to clean up, she is expected to gather and put away her toys. She and I, or one of the big kids, work together to find all of the toys she has been playing with and put them away. She also helps out by putting her dirty clothes in the proper basket and clearing her plate from the table.
The next three are Ms. Giggles (4), Ms. Independent (6), and Ms. Lovebug (8). They share the responsibility of the living room. I have a chore sheet printed off, put in a protective sleeve, and hung on the wall for them (there is one in every area). It includes daily tasks as well as weekly tasks. Their job is to make sure all of the toys are put away and organized, the movies are in their correct cases and in order, the pillows and blankets are in their places, the trash is in the trashcan, and the floor is swept. I do the dusting and oiling of the furniture in that room.
Then comes Ms. Firecracker (10). Her area is the hallway/ stairs and the upstairs bathroom. Daily she makes sure that there is nothing on the stairs on the floor of the hallway. Those two areas get vacuumed twice a week. She also does a disinfecting wipe-down of the bathroom each night. She and I work together to accomplish a weekly deep cleaning.
Young Man’s (12) area is the dining room and the floors in the dining room, kitchen and entryway. He wipes down the chairs and table after each meal. He also keeps the floors cleared of trash. Optimally, mopping is twice a week with spot-cleaning as needed. Once a week he goes over the shelving in the dining room and looks for items that are out of place and makes sure everything is where it is supposed to be.
Lastly, there is Ms. Serious (14). Her area is the kitchen. The whole family helps to clear dishes, put their own plates and such in the dishwasher, and to put away the food. After that, Ms. Serious (14) wipes down the counters, appliances, makes sure the counters are cleared off and the items put away, cleans the sink, and starts the dishwasher as needed. She and I, or she and Mr. Muscles, work together to do a weekly deep cleaning.
Mr. Muscles and I work right along side the children in their areas (in addition to our own areas) to help them, to make sure they are cleaning properly, and it offers up many great moments of talking, joking around, and just enjoying our children.
It takes a family to get this place messy: it takes a family to clean it back up!
How do chores work in your home?
All for God’s glory,
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