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Old 03-29-2013, 07:34 PM   #1
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Teaching kids housekeeping skills

I *may* have asked this before a long time ago as part of another post. But I'm back again!

I have a 5 & 2 yo, and a DH who works crazy hours and just doesn't do housework. I'm at peace with DH not helping during the week, he's a super hard worker outside the home and provides 100% of our income so I'm ok with doing the housework. I just would love to hear how YOU plan/execute your housework. I grew up with a WOHM and no direction on running a home. I limp along doing the urgent stuff but always feel like its disorganized and never caught up.

So id like to simplify somehow, and involve my kids in a way that equips them to feel confident in caring for their homes when they are older.

So I guess my question is two part:
1) What does YOUR system look like and how do you involve your kids (include their ages)?
2) What age appropriate expectations should I have for a 5 & 2 yo?



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Old 03-29-2013, 08:06 PM   #2
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Re: Teaching kids housekeeping skills

You're not alone!! My mom stayed at home, but never taught us how to do chores or anything. And now that I have kids, I struggle to keep the house neat/clean AND teach them these things.

she can dust with a duster. We keep all of her plates/dishes/silverware in a drawer she can reach, and she puts them away when they come out of the dishwasher. We just started teaching her to do her own laundry - washing, drying, folding, putting up (all supervised of course). She can clean the doors in the house (fingerprints, dust, etc). She's actually really good at cleaning the sinks, so I think I'll start teaching her bathrooms next. In fact, thinking of teaching her to do more chores is what prompted me to find 'green' cleaning products, because I didn't want her using some of the harsh products I was using. Sweeping out the garage, the porch, deck, etc.

We taught her to clean her room in 'steps', because telling her to "clean her room" doesn't cut it. We'll say "pick upa ll your shoes and put them where they go", then "put all your dress-up in their bin". She CAN do all those steps independently, she just needs supervision and direction or she'll just play in her room and get distracted.

Now, you asked about a system.....I don't have one :-P. I wish I could tell you I do "X" every day, or "Y" on certain days, but we don't. I try to have her do a '10 minute tidy' everyday so the mess doesn't get overwhelming. We don't have a chore routine. At this stage, I'm focusing on teaching her how to do things, even though it takes me way longer. I figure eventually she'll be more independent with tasks.

Looking forward to other replies!
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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My kids both have responsibility charts made by Melissa and Doug. (Sears sells them) dd is 7 and is expected to make her bed, take care of pets (sometimes just checking to see if they need food or water) pick up her room, clear the dinner table. Then she has other things like show respect ect. You can change them out weekly. My 3.5yo has help with a household chore, pick up toys and clean room as his daily chores. Along with other things like brush teeth, ect. They get a smiley face when a chore is completed and at the end of the week if they have enough Smileys they get to pick something out of the "surprise box" dd needs 30 Smileys and ds needs 25. It took them 2 weeks to get in the hang of it but they have caught on and its a great tool!
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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Re: Teaching kids housekeeping skills

I have been working on this as well. I have begun to do a little each day. I will vacuum a couple of times a week, do laundry a few days a week, clean the bathroom one day as well. The kitchen gets cleaned daily. I have my kiddos help when they can (also 5 & 2). My DD (5) will put away laundry, organize toys, gather recycling, and lately has become AWESOME at folding the diapers, wipes, and covers. My DS (2) can't do too much, but he likes to help clean up toys and swiffer. My kids always want to help so I try to find something for them to do when I am cleaning as well. I hope they stay this way!!
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:03 PM   #5
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I ask my kids to do a lot. They are simply expected to do what I ask.. I am reasonable though. My wee one gets the trash from all the rooms. My oldest the laundry. Things like that.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:24 PM   #6
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Re: Teaching kids housekeeping skills

My mother was a WOHM single mom. We would come home from school ourselves, do our homework(sister and I from age 10 onward....back in the late 80's and 90's, lol). Often start dinner, even put on a fire if needed! Back then we would even travel on a train by ourselves from age 5/6 to our grandmas, note on our suitcase, train conductor keeping an eye on us. We were really good girls though. This is in Ireland btw, so smaller community etc.....

We would generally tidy during the week, but every Saturday morning was a major clean of the entire house. Like hands and knees on the bathroom cleaning.....our bedrooms too, every surface wiped down.

You would seriously be arrested if you did any of that now, ha!(not the cleaning part)

My kids......the older two(now 7 and 9) have been unloading the dishwasher for a few years now. I think I'm going to have the 9 year old now put the dishes away( I do that bit as dishes are heavy and $$). We have also talked about them loading the dishwasher after meals.

They also wipe down the table after meals, sweep the floor, help with the younger kids, help with outside chores. Tidy their rooms, put away their laundry. Really whatever I ask them to do they do. 3 year old is just learning. So he will clear his plate all the time now. He loves to help out with unloading the dishwasher. If you give him a spray bottle and a sponge/cloth he will go to town with wiping down doors, cabinets etc......

I need to get the boys onto cleaning their own bathroom on a regular basis. They will if I ask them, but a schedule, once a week etc would be better.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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Re: Teaching kids housekeeping skills

My kids (3 & 1.5) don't do a lot by themselves, but they do a lot along side me.

They can both help unload the dishwasher- the 1.5yo hands the silverware to the older one. We have a drawer at their level with plates and can put their stuff from the dishwasher into their drawer.

They both help set the table and clear the table. The older one can get a washcloth with water for each of them. They clear their plates and the little one puts her bib and washcloth in a bin the the laundry room.

They both help with laundry- matching socks, putting socks and underwear away, and sorting into piles for me to fold. The older one can fold washcloths.

When I clean the bathrooms, they both come with me. They wipe the walls and tub. The older one wipes down the counter.

The older one helps with making dinner- small jobs like stirring biscuits, putting things onto a tray, pouring dry ingredients into a mix.

The older one dresses herself. The younger one tries . They choose their own clothes for the day and put dirty clothes into the hamper.

Kids need a lot of direction to clean up. We make it a game or take one thing at a time- first getting all the books, then getting the stuffed animals put away, etc. Sometimes I will give them those jobs while cooking dinner.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:49 AM   #8
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We try to have a system, each person with a set area of the house/specific chore each day but when DH and I work we have trouble keeping up with our "chores". Saturday morning is major cleaning, everyone helps. My 21 month old will help along side one of us but doesn't have specific task that she does.

During the week dh works Monday-Thursday 10ish hours/day including an hour commute each way. I work 3 12 hour shifts as an ED RN, we are both exhausted by the time we get home. He will wash bottles and make dinner but that's generally it. My older two (9 and 12) are responsible for tidying up, loading/unloading dishwasher, vacuuming on a daily basis. My oldest will do laundry if asked, they both like to swifter and use the microfiber wet mop so they will do that once a week or so.
On Saturdays when we do the major clean we divide and conquer. Each person takes a room (the big girls get assigned either bathroom or living room, they do a pretty good job in these rooms so I don't feel like I have to go behind them and redo their work).
We have been doing it this way for a number of years. Having them involved has prompted me to use more great products so they aren't exposed to all the chemicals. One of my favorites is the All Purpose Cleaner from Celadon Road. Its baking soda based, they take off their socks, roll up their pant legs and climb in the tub with a scrub brush and clean away!
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:44 AM   #9
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Re: Teaching kids housekeeping skills

I made a chart on the computer and print it out weekly.

My kids are 4.5, 6.5, and almost 9.

They all make their bed, put away their laundry, clear their dinner plates, hang up coats, put away shoes, put clothes in hamper. The rotate weekly between having a "vacation" week, emptying the dishwasher, and cleaning the bathroom sink. When asked, they do the garbage, sweep the floor, vacuum. When summer comes and they are home more, they'll do more. They also pick up toys, etc during the day.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:50 AM   #10
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Re: Teaching kids housekeeping skills

I am getting better but still feel like the bigger reorganization jobs are not getting finished. But I keep up with the basics by doing the kitchen every day, laundry MWF, vacuum T/TH/as needed over weekend, fridge cleaned day before garbage pick up, downstairs floors and bathroom done once a week, bedroom laundry (sheets/towels) done Sundays. The only room I never seem to managed to consistently do is our bedroom and en suite bath because most of my cleaning is done while DD is napping and she shares a room with us.

DS is 3. He is in charge of putting his toys away, setting the table (we put everything on the table and he distributes it), and picking out clothes/dressing himself. I moved his clothes around so that everything is accessible for him except pjs and bathing suits, so he also puts his laundry away. He is supervised and guided for all these tasks except going to get his clothes for the day.

He also helps fold laundry and wipes out the lower shelves of the fridge, and I'm teaching him to cook and bake. He adds and mixes away from the stove and can cook pancakes with my hand guiding the spatula.

As previously mentioned, having him help makes this stuff take longer but he needs to learn to care for himself. Besides, I'd rather have a daughter in law who likes me than one who curses my name when her husband burns boiling water and has no idea how the washing machine works!
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Last edited by Mommy to Eli and Baby#2; 03-30-2013 at 05:52 AM.
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