This took me quite a long time and many tiresome nights to figure out. After my first child was born I couldn’t even fathom trying to go above and beyond taking care of her to manage the house work too. So I left the cleaning and laundry for the evenings which usually meant it got put off until the weekend when my husband was home to help. Well, 3 kids later I’ve finally realized I don’t want to spend nights and weekends just doing chores and it is possible to keep up with the tasks while kids are home.
I think of it two ways ,1) “Kill two birds with one stone” whenever possible. 2) “If you can’t beat them…make them join you,” Let me make this practical. First, I will often pair tasks along side something I’m doing with the kids. For example, I will often bring all of my cleaning supplies into the bathroom and clean it while giving the kids who are old enough to be out of my arms reach, a bath. They get clean, the bathroom gets clean and 20 minutes later I’m thrilled both are done!
I’ll do this with my two year old too. Whenever the dishwasher is open, he is there, often climbing into it. I decided that while he is there, he is going to help. So I’ve taught him to hand me dishes and I put them away or I will give him easy to reach items that he puts away. The great thing about this set up is that his short attention span will often take him somewhere else and leave me to complete the job, on my own, in peace.
Second, I have a 4 and 6 year old who are fully capable of helping around the house. So, I’ve approached this a couple of ways. If there’s a big task like a major floor cleaning that I just need to get done, everyone gets a sponge and we go to work as a team. Sometimes I delegate tasks and we make an afternoon out of it (while the little one naps). No, it is not always easy to motivate them, I am just currently taking advantage of their fascination with spraying bottles and using a toilet brush.
At different times, I have also made job charts that list cleaning tasks with a payment amount next to each (25-50¢per job). Then they can choose which job they want, as many or few as they want, and how much money they want to make. I try to mix it up on how I include them to help to make it fun. No, my house isn’t always clean nor laundry always done, but I feel more like I can balance both during the day better while still spending plenty of time with my kids.
Image used under Creative Commons License – Flickr user kellyhogaboom (March 30, 2014)