Use these top tips to get cleaning help from your kids!
Can you help me solve this problem? The rooms, the house, my life is a mess and I’m the only one cleaning. The kids, boys, aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing with their independent work (ages 8 and 12). Consequences are irrelevant as an option. Means nothing. What can I do?
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Elizabeth: When a child really, really wants to do something, he will find a way. When my son wanted to go snowboarding with his friends, he finished a week’s worth of school at 85% accuracy in 2 days. When he wanted to go visit a friend, he biked there: 13 miles one way. So I recommend getting the book, Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris and then, using some of those suggestions, find some challenging hard things to do together. You may have not been thinking BIG enough. He may want to do something like help orphans in Africa, or go kayaking down the Mississippi or bike across America. AND I found at this age, that boys need their dad (or a male figure) to challenge them to man up and grow up.
And here are some more hints below:
J.T.: When I got like this I went on a cleaning/decluttering spree. If no one else is cleaning it, I get to say how much is in this house! I got rid of 3-4 car loads of extra not regularly used stuff! I moved most toys into tubs in my garage to switch around it had been a year and we never touched the garage toys so they go next!
We also don’t do tablet time until they have cleaned up. It’s given as a reward not taken in punishment. JT
Ashley Mason ^^^what J. said. Less stuff in the house = less to pick up. My kids then quickly took me seriously. I then made a big family chore chart, sat everyone down and laid out the new plan including consequences and punishments. They scoffed a little. The next day, when it was chore time, at their first complaint came the first punishment. They quickly started helping and doing their part. It did help, that everyone in the house does their chores at the same time and that they needed to be done in a set amount of time. I also made it a team effort, if one child finished all their chores, they had to help someone else finish theirs and then move to help the next one. That way everything gets done quickly & then we ALL get to hang out and do what we enjoy. Typically all household chores get done in under 30 min. It’s been a couple years and it still works. Sometimes they get lazy, and a reminder helps. Follow through seems to be the best way to get kids to do their part.
G.B.I’m not sure if I am reading this right … are you struggling with the tidying of the house AND their completion of school work (their independent work)? It sounds to me like you are frustrated by a lack of obedience and a lack of respect. Sometimes it’s necessary to make this a focus, to choose which factors are the highest in priority and focus on consistency with these. Your kids are at an age where hormones and attitude can seem to hijack their little bodies and take over – leaving us with children we hardly recognize… and are highly frustrated by. But as a mom of eight, I tell you (want to encourage you) – it does not have to take over the home or rule your life. It takes time, it takes consistency, but it’s worth working towards- to find things that help bring peace to your home.
Gloria Brubacher I agree with what everyone above has said regarding decluttering and having less stuff to pick up … but i think equally important is making sure all the stuff has a place to belong. A place that is easy for the kids to put things in properly. Sometimes that part of organization is my job as Mom, and once I have that, it’s ten times easier to calmly remind someone to please come pick up … or please come put away …. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I’d rather ask them to come pick up and have them develop habit of physically doing the task themselves than to have them in the habit of expecting I will take care of it for them. Now – if they fight or argue when asked to do the simple task, now we have an attitude or obedience issue. Thankfully we are past that point in our home, and most times, the reminder is all that’s needed. Staying on top of it and having one thing to pick up at a time is a whole lot easier than having a whole pile (that can be overwhelming). In our home, we’ve established the routine of things being tidy before they come for a meal (if they are building something or have a project on the go and want to leave it out until after lunch or maybe the next day, they will ask … but those are rare exceptions).
Rick N Anna Walter I notice with our kids that when they have too much going on outside of the home it’s chaos inside the home. We take away all activities and commitments from our kids when this happens. We tell our kids that the home is the training ground for life. If you aren’t doing it at home, you aren’t doing it outside the home. Stop taking them places, stop doing things for them, and make them earn it. If they can’t do what needs to be done, then they dont get rewarded. Reward the behavior you want.
Hang in there, parenting is not for the weak. Give yourself some grace.
Rebekah Amaral Lots of great ideas here!! I like to remember “Character before curriculum.” Making sure we have the right heart attitudes. Don’t forget, it’s just as important (if not more so) to teach and train your kiddos to have good character 💛 Focusing on one thing at a time (like a month or so) before tackling the next. You’re a great mom! Hang in there- we all want to send them to school once a month or so 😂😉
🙂I totally can’t take credit for the saying “Character before curriculum.” I heard it a few years ago at our annual homeschool convention. I’ve adapted the speakers concept to work for our family.
The underlying mentality is “Don’t let anything get in the way or take priority over Character.” If there is a heart issue (Disobedience, talking back, laziness…etc.) stop whatever it is that your doing and take some time to address the issue. This looks different depending on
1.) The age of the child I’m talking with
2.) The offense
So if I’m talking with one of my older boys (11 & 13) I tell them the negative behavior I saw, and then we discuss the behavior we do want…and the consequence. For example The Expectation is no screen time on a weekday and only after all primary responsibilities “chores” are taken care of. So say my 11 year old hops on the computer on Tuesday evening. I gently remind him that there’s no computer during the school week. And leave it there. Then I notice he jumps on “real quick” the next evening to check on something. So at this point the computer goes off. And he and I sit down and start a discussion. I remind him of the rule “no screen time during the school week. “ and I (or we, if my husband is home from work) explain that because he is struggling with the responsibility of computer time that we are going to come along side and help him with his time management. So we then give him a specific time and date/(s) that he can use the computer, plus he needs to check in with us AFTER his primary responsibilities are done and then we will give him the go ahead.
This is just one example but the thought is the same. Set expectations, if they don’t follow those, we address, correct /discuss what should happen next, and administer consequences (sometimes this may be a time out, a loss of privilege, additional job…)
I also spend time focusing on one new character trait per month (sometimes longer ) to teach intentionally. We have a punch / sticker card that if the kids are “caught” doing something that needs to be done without being asked (initiative) they earn a sticker and when they get so many they earn something special (little treat or going to get ice cream with mom or dad)
I try to keep in my mind that “I’m training….or this is a teaching moment ” so I don’t get frustrated when the kids don’t behave as I would like.
-when you notice a heart issue, focus on that, stopping or slowing others things
– intentionally introduce new character habits you want your child to learn. (Attentiveness, obedience, orderliness, kindness…) Pinterest is great for practice activities you can do. I also love the podcasts Risen motherhood & Simply Charlotte mason! Great practical ideas in those resources
Christina Olson I know how you feel. I’ve been there and am still dealing with it.
What’s been key for me is letting my family know how they make me feel. I have 6, the oldest is almost 16. He’s understanding now.
I don’t let them turn in TV till the mess is cleaned up.
I’ve started just throwing stuff out.
I’ve stopped doing the laundry except for the youngest. Ages 7-16 has to do their own. What? No socks? That’s now their responsibility.
Also remember hormones can mess with you! It’s always more of a challenge for me around my cycle.
Do you have other moms in your area who you can reach out to? They’re probably dealing with the same things.
Let your husband know how you feel.
And finally PRAY!
PRAY that the attitudes that are wrong would be BROKEN in the Name and by the Power of Christ. Call the problems out to God. He will hear you.
Brooke Gandy You’ll go through phases. They’re kids so they’ll forget that you have feelings. Remind them. My kids are 10, 7, and 5. We also have 3 dogs. My husband works all day through out the week. We have a loose schedule, by loose I mean things are done in order. If they take too long on their homework because of laziness, no tablet (which is used for more learning). Then they have to go straight to their chores. If they don’t get those done then they don’t get to go to the park or play outside and the day feels like a drag. They learned this quickly. My 10 year old was the worse, he would take all day on his school work and barely get that done. So I sat him down and had a long heart to heart. Poured out all my feelings, explained why I do things (because it will help him in the long run, it’s actually harder on me). He looked at me and said “I didn’t know you did for me.” I gave him an hour or so and then he came to me and apologized. He gets his stuff done now. They also realized that if they get work done, then they get to learn on their tablet, then get their chores done and they get to play outside/go to the park and play a game on the tablet or play on the xbox. Support from your husband is a must as well. Help them to learn that they get rewarded for effort. Like all the time you put into them, you’ll be rewarded for as well. The same goes for consequences when you don’t do what you should. If you have to, start from new. Take everything away and tell them they will earn it back when they complete what they should do, every day for a week or so. You can do character lessons with them as well. We memory verses each week and character lessons each month. Right now they’re having more of an issue with bickering and loving each other than they are respecting and appreciating me. So we’re working on things pertaining to that. Good luck, and hang in there!!
Talisha Zerfoss Let me begin by saying, I had often felt like this before. I know exactly what you are talking about. It’s not fun! It hurts, you start to question everything about you and then start to resent your family.
This is spiritual warfare. Satan is telling you lies over and over again. The family unit is his favorite place to attack. That said may I suggest a few things that got me over it. First of all pray for your family, second buy and read the book called Teaching them diligently; how to use the scriptures in child training, third while reading it be consistent with your consequences!! After reading the book I found that I was way to complacent.
My kids didn’t respect my authority due to me not being consistent. Last but not least, get them cleaning!! They need to have responsibilities (cleaning) to help them for when they are an adult. You won’t be able to clean for them. Sit down, talk to them about a job or jobs they love or like to do. That job is there’s for a week or longer. Then have them rotate. If they refuse, then b/c this is direct disobedience give them a consequence and follow through with it.
Trust me sister. I have been here not to long ago. It helps. Hugs to you. You’ve got this!!
Allison Plato Was this the page where I shared how the video on the lifespan of a cockroach sent my children into a cleaning tizzy? It can live without a head y’all. Youtube it. 😉 Gross em out enough and they will clean lol lol
You are doing them a HUGE favor by equipping them w life skills now so they don’t have to learn them after having kids. KEEP GOING. Agree with PP – spiritual warfare. Satan all the way.
Use the earn back box or uh-oh box… they leave it out / don’t put it away / they have to earn it back. Make them clean sweep each night or they don’t get what was left out. Also Dad can have a talk with them. If the tween pout pout behavior comes out just keep on going, Friend, you are doing them a favor – even if they don’t know it.
TS I think the biggest thing I did for self preservation (and it helped the family kick their butts in gear), set working hours. We have set school hours. I am available during that time (and I don’t do anything else but school during that time – my children focus better when I am working). I also have an end of day time for me. At 9 pm if it’s not done, it waits until tomorrow. That gives me a few hours to myself. That helped my sanity. As far as motivating kids, I have struggled with that too. My oldest didn’t get lunch today due to his not working. He has to finish his self work before lunch (when I am working with younger kids). If he procrastinates, he doesn’t eat. Sounds harsh but honestly it was the only thing we found that he cared about missing. Once school time is over he has the option, he can quit for the day or he can keep working without me if he still has work. However, he can’t go anywhere unless he is completely caught up and any leftover work has to be done on Saturday. Him knowing he had a stoping time also helped motivate him. I also set a timer and have assigned how long things should take so he can see how much time he is wasting and that he doesn’t have time for things he wants because he wasted his time.
Dottie Darst Welcome to Countdown to the End of School. I think if I didn’t feel this way every spring, something might be wrong!😂Time for a reboot for everyone. Have a brief teacher/student conference where you announce you will be taking X# of days off school and instead will be doing a Total House Makeover! Woohoo! You will already have the list made of what needs to be done. Kids will “volunteer” for the tasks (and if you want to add to the fun, put a monetary value for each job. Yeah, pay them!) I think you’ll feel better when your house gets in shape, the kids will be a little richer, and they’ll be ready to finish strong. Deeeep breaths! You can do this!
Thanks to everyone for all your tips and tricks and encouragement. We need to keep cheering each other on! If you have a homeschooling question, make sure you join our Homeschool Christian Mom group so we can help you!
Bonus: If you liked these suggestions, you will also like Action Plan for the Badlands
which includes a printable action plan to be filled out and signed by you and your student. Get the behavior you want!
Be the Mom! talks about being an advocate for your child. Don’t be shy- Be the Mom!
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Isn’t it annoying to have to search and search to find homeschooling answers? You spend hour after hour reading blogs and forums and groups to get the best information for your homeschool. And then you still might not be confident that you have what your child needs!
Imagine if you could reclaim that time to do the things YOU wanted to do! You could crochet that afghan for your daughter, or go to the watercolor class with your friends.