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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Editor’s note: please welcome Sandy’s advice for getting the kids to help around the house. Thanks, Sandy!)

For years I struggled with motivating my children to help me clean the house. As soon as I said the two magic words “cleanup time” they all disappeared. My oldest would grab a book and hide on the couch, the two middles would run outside to their bikes, and I would be left with the baby and the mess. I tried doing charts, and giving monetary rewards, but after a week either it lost its appeal or the cost was too big.

Most of today’s parents juggle housework, demanding jobs, and parenting young children all on an already overextended plate. I very often work and clean until frustration mounts and then I erupt in a shouting match. But this is an unhealthy burden to be shouldering solo. An efficient parent knows how to delegate jobs and most importantly how to motivate the entire family. Thankfully, I have older relatives and friends who have inspired me and gave me ideas to encourage my children.

Paste a smile When Mom is happy, the home is happy. When I am in a positive frame of mind the little people in my life want to be around me. All I then need to do is show them what to accomplish in order to feel a connection with me. A quick way to alter the mood in the home is to listen to music. Music lifts everyone from the doldrums and is a quick injection of happiness.

Talk is Priceless Often, while we are doing our chores I will bond with my children by engaging them in talk. My time is limited and I realize my limitations so whenever possible I strive for the gold. If we are in close proximity doing activities, we might as well count that as quality time. Now, I don’t always have the extra mental energy to so this and I recognize my limits but this is my aspiration. If your brain is mush and you can’t think of anything to talk you can always teach your kids. If I have lots of little objects to gather we will count them using different languages, or I will show them how to count in tens. If your children are older you can do advanced math while cleaning the kitchen.

I want my children to be independent when their time comes. To accomplish that goal I educate them in Home Economics 101. When we do the weekly grocery trip I demonstrate comparison shopping. When we unpack the groceries I explain why I bought that specific item and what the use is for. Whenever possible I impart some of my “wisdom” to educate my family.

Educate according to their Path When delegating jobs I offer a choice of two. More than two choices overwhelm and confuse young children. For my active boys who have lots of energy to burn, I select chores like vacuuming the carpet. All children enjoy using the bagless canister vacuum cleaner because of its child like appeal, especially boys who simply adore objects that move and produce noise. The bagless canister vacuum cleaner is a often used parenting tool in our family home.

You do not have to be supermom to have a clean home. By delegating the household chores and everyone pitching in you will enjoy living with family.

Earnest Parenting: tips for getting children to play along with housework.

Photo provided courtesy of ian g via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.