Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Vacation Order

Hi there!

[photo removed]

Summer vacation is almost here and I'm nervous.

So...I have a question: do you have a method for keeping your house orderly when your children are home all day (as in, during the summer or on the weekends)?

We currently have no method. Sometimes we do an evening cleaning. Sometimes we clean all weekend. It's spotty and ill-enforced. It can depend on the day, how much we are home/in the house, and who is (or is not) actually available to do the cleaning. Consequently the house spends a lot of time in messy chaos when all the children are home.

I think it would be highly advisable to have some a plan or set expectations for my sanity this summer! But what? Chore charts? Set times to clean up? Rules to restrict play to certain items? (Actually, there's no way that last one is going to work in our house....)

I am also interested in some tangental things like:

  • What are non-cleaning children (like a one-year-old) doing while the older ones are cleaning?
  • What is a reasonable expectation of cleanliness? 
  • How about a reasonable expectation of frequency or time spent cleaning? (Since Noah is 7 and Mattias is 4, I guess expectation in line with their ages would be good...)
  • How much supervising/helping do you do?
Seems like I should know this stuff after 7 years, but I still haven't figured it out. 

12 comments:

Amanda Meyer said...

Dan has worked out a system that seems to produce results at our house. Our kids are home a lot, and thereby make a lot of messes. He has set up a routine so that about the same time every day (around 3:00) the boys clean up together. First priority is to pick up all of the mess they've made that day in our family spaces (livingroom, kitchen, etc.). If this takes less than a half hour, they move to their personal spaces (bedroom, LEGO room) and work on those until a half hour is up. Dan doesn't help them at all, but he used to read to them while they cleaned, or they listened to an audiobook. They weren't as efficient as cleaning when they did this, though. They clean for about 30 minutes every afternoon, but there are days when other things are going on and this doesn't happen. It seems like the most important thing is to make it a routine, so that they know it's expected every day. Less complaining that way!

Ann Wyse said...

Lots of great ideas and info, thank you! (I especially like the idea of listening to something while they work.)

Anonymous said...

Here is the encouraged comment: Ann, I love your glasses!
Oh, you wanted to have a comment about Trixie? - Anaise and I think you are blessed to have such a cute girl!

Ann Wyse said...

;-)

Pregnantly Plump said...

Very sweet pic! We don't have a good set rule. When it gets too bad in the playroom, I make them clean. Little Elvis fusses at his brothers the whole time about how unhelpful they are.

Ann Wyse said...

Noah fusses at Mattias a lot, too (when we clean)! Noah also does most of the work, so I get it. Mattias is pretty unhelpful at cleaning, but so was Noah at 4....Hmmm. Maybe this unbalance has a lot to do with why we don't have a system yet.





Anonymous said...

What exactly do you mean by 'clean' - not messy, like toys put away, or clean like vacuum clean or even mopped?

I don't know that stuff even after almost thirteen years, since things change constantly. We grow, and I have to constantly convince a child that yes, by now you can certainly hang your socks yourself (don't have a dryer), and yes, you are old enough to put your clean laundry in your closet.....the list goes on. And my six year old has way more responsibilities than our oldest daughter had at that age.

Here is where we are now - and after reading through the website listed below, I think it is not too much I expect of them...hm, should I raise the bar?
Daughters (11 and 13) are responsible for their own rooms by now, completely. Sons (6 and 9) are responsible for picking up everything before the vacuum cleaner comes - which comes for sure once a week. I can't do it more often, since they both build elaborate structures - which is okay upstairs. And every four weeks or so, we do a sort of deep cleaning together, mostly during school breaks.
Downstairs: here comes my laundry basket again, things that still lay around after three reminders go in and are moved to the basement into a lost-and-found box.
But this might be too early for your boys, they probably need your support to 'learn' how to organize their things, otherwise there might be a lot of frustration.
If one complains that the other does not do his share, then try to divide things up - different parts of the roo, different colors of blocks?

I try to stick to that routine of having a fixed cleaning day, but sometimes I am just too lazy until it bothers me too much and then everything has to happen NOW. Will be hard over the summer, no matter what plan you come up with.
And what could Trixie do? Can she 'help'? Can she watch while her brothers 'teach' her how cleaning up work? Can she sing to them 'clean up, clean up - everybody, everywhere...'?
I found this website, maybe you already know them. If not, they might be helpful in some way:
http://parentingsquad.com/45-chores-young-children-can-do

I dream of the perfect system as well - where everything is transparent and comprehensible, fine-tuned to the different ages of my kids, perceived as fair by everybody. Something like stars that translate into media time by multiplied by age, little cards I set out if a certain task needs to be done (like take compost outside, fill up toilet paper in all bathrooms...) - good thing I have a laminating machine now.
Sorry this got so long - hot topic for me, too!

Ann Wyse said...

It's VERY helpful to hear what other kids are doing at what ages. (I often feel like the general parenting websites lack realism!)

At this point, I'd be happy with toys picked up and shreds of paper, trash - excuse me, I mean ARTWORK - NOT laying all over the house. Mopping and vacuuming can wait, I think.

Ann Wyse said...

It's VERY helpful to hear what other kids are doing at what ages. (I often feel like the general parenting websites lack realism!)

At this point, I'd be happy with toys picked up and shreds of paper, trash - excuse me, I mean ARTWORK - NOT laying all over the house. Mopping and vacuuming can wait, I think.

idena said...

I just opened this and saw that adorable child (and her gorgeous mom) and had to comment on that first. Beautiful!

idena said...

Okay, now to answer your cleaning questions. My 8 year old has his play space in the front room of our house -- not where we gather as a family to talk and watch TV -- but a room that is walked through to get to other rooms. So I allow that area to have toys left mid-play, as long as it's contained. His job at the end of the play time is to make sure toys are either put away (ha!) or on the 5x7-foot rug. If they are off the rug, I threaten to take them and hide them for a week (though I haven't done that lately, just warn him and he quickly cleans up). He has a desk in there that he does art and such at and I make him clean it off a few times a week, otherwise it becomes too heaped with the items that used to be on the floor (he thought I wouldn't notice those items being stored on the desk). He's good at tossing art work and scraps of papers, but only when cleaning the desk, not as often as I'd like. As for other chores, he sweeps the kitchen and washes the fingerprints off the kitchen appliances and windows. He's also helpful at folding towels.

Ann Wyse said...

Thank you, Idena. I love the idea of washing off fingerprints as a chore! Oh man, such a little thing, but they can really add up quick!