While having a large family is a lot of fun and love, it can also get pretty crazy from time to time! Especially when it comes to maintaining the home- a reality that the adult responsible for looking after the home (usually the mums) know only too well. Cleaning up after a large family at the end of the day can be a herculean task. With all the different people, personalities, activities and meals that run through the house all day long, the dream of having a spic-and-span home is usually a hopeless fantasy!
If you are tired of cleaning up after your brood and have resigned yourself to a permanently chaotic and messy home, we have some good news for you. Here are some really straightforward habits that you and your family members can cultivate and these will go a long way in helping you clean and maintain your home without requiring superhuman strength and effort! In fact, these tricks are so simple you will probably be left wondering why you haven’t thought of them before!
The first step is to create a plan and rules for cleaning. This will include all the cleaning goals, whether they’re divided into daily, weekly or monthly categories, and who will assist with what task and the different rules for picking up after yourself and helping out others. It’s important to have a formal action plan because most family members tend to get busy with their own tasks and chores or end up slacking off where the cleaning is concerned.
Make daily or weekly to-do lists of chores along with the name of the person who is to carry each one out and put this list up in a visible place. Using a whiteboard and a marker is a great way to go. Making a concerted effort to keep everyone on track begins with creating an achievable action plan.
The next step is to involve all your family members. It invariably happens that the cleaning gets left to the parent or adult who is at home most often. Even with a small or medium-sized house, cleaning alone can be a burden but with a large family, it is an impossible and unfair task. So, you need to get the entire family on board with the cleaning routine.
Each person needs to be responsible for his or her own room and specific messes they have created. So the kids should clean up their bedrooms, the adults need to clean theirs up together as well as maintaining any home offices or studies they might have, everyone needs to clean their own bathrooms (except the kids when they are very young) and so on. This generates accountability and also helps to get most of the house clean without one person getting stressed about it all.
When it comes to common spaces and areas of the house like the dining room or the living room, divide the responsibilities per person. So, the young children can manage something small such as picking up and rearranging cushions or pulling the small rugs into place while the older children can be tasked with dusting the room clean daily. Adults can handle more complex tasks like cleaning fixtures or polishing furniture and glass items.
Make cleaning an exciting and rewards-based activity. With very young children and teenagers you will find that getting them to participate in the cleaning routine without any resistance or anger is nearly impossible. Instead of getting angry at your children and making them upset and surly, offer incentives that will make them want to participate.
For older kids, don’t hand over an allowance every month- make them work for it. Calculating a “rate” for each chore is a great way to get things done, teach the children responsibility and also make willing participants out of them. For younger children you can offer treats like making a favourite dish or taking them out to see a film or going for a picnic.