Nor do I love cleaning up after all my little piggies without them lifting a finger. Nope. Not an option at our house. Hiring a maid is also not an option, which I think is detrimental to family development anyway (unless you have extenuating circumstances, like new baby, bed-ridden, or health issues that prevent a family from being able to do their own cleaning).
Finding the right system for our home has gone through a few levels of changes over the years. When my children were very small, they loved to pick-up toys while we sang the "Clean-up Song" from Barney.
Eventually their keen little minds realized cleaning was not a game, but was actual work! Oh the shame of it all! Mom tricked us into working!
We have a few systems that I've posted about before:
|Daily Planner - Meals and Appointments|
|Daily Planner - To-Do List and Family Work|
Multiple Kids in One Zone
We have a buddy system with older children training younger ones. Mentoring younger children in how to do family work is a must. If you don't have enough kids, think about borrowing some.
No! I'm not kidding! Once a month give your children a chance to mentor or be mentored by other kids.
We have a "Littles Checklist" and a "Bigs Checklist". The Littles do things like pick-up toys, put small trash bags in the larger can in the kitchen, wipe off cabinets, etc.
Check out these Littles cleaning...
|Matching Socks, One of Their Favorite Things|
The Bigs can help the Littles learn how to do chores and/or do the big things themselves. I sometimes divvy up the list to help the Bigs learn when a child is ready to learn a new skill.
Since we are a foster family, children come to us with varying abilities even though they may be the same age. We adapt and help them learn. We do not assume they know anything, yet we are always amazed at how quickly they come to like working with the family. Even children that are emotionally damaged and have never cleaned before find new excitement and achievement as they learn to be part of the family and work together. For many of them, working together is a completely new idea.
Worried your kids will rebel? Well...they might.
The key is to talk about "family work" and not "chores". Family work is everyone chipping in to make our house run smoother and have everything ready for the next time we use it.