If you are like me, maybe you didn’t have set chores when you were a kid. No one ever showed me how to properly clean anything. I just watched my mom (when she did clean) and tried to emulate what she did. Then I grew up and had no idea what cleaner went with what! I was using a grease cleaner in my bathroom! I then morphed into the mom that goes behind her kids after they “clean,” and I quickly discovered that was exhausting! So, hello, cleaning bootcamp! Here is how I taught my kids to clean.
It all started very simple. During one summer when we were all at home with time to spare, I started in the place I hated to clean the most … their bathroom! I got a box for them and filled it with their own cleaning supplies. Then I left directions in their bathroom. It’s a nice little booklet that explains what each cleaner is for and what to do with it. After I showed them their new cleaning products (they were overjoyed, she said, with sarcasm) I step by step went through each item and taught them how to use it. I used an “I do, you do” method. I did it one week, the next week it was their turn! I also divided their bathroom into zones. That way they could be really proficient at their job and no one could complain that the other one had too much work. It has been a life saver!
Then we moved to a bigger stage…the kitchen! We started small, with just the dishwasher. The biggest complaint was, “but I don’t know where this goes!” So we did a kitchen walk through and I labeled what went into each cabinet! Now, there is no reason why anything would NOT be put back exactly where it goes! I answered the deep question about what to do if the dish was, gasp, still wet. It may sound silly, but I haven’t unloaded the dishwasher in years and I can find all the things!
From there we moved on slowly to the safety path that needs to be from bed to door in their rooms, how to properly put away clothes from the laundry. Not too many things! Please don’t think I run a sweatshop.
Someday they will both have dorm rooms, or apartments and houses of their own. I want to make sure that they understand how to be clean and take pride in the things they own. Do they still whine and fuss about having to clean? Absolutely. Do I sometimes have to remind them that the giant pink toothpaste glob is not part of the sink decor? You bet. Has my son claimed to be out of underwear only to discover it’s because he shoved them in some random drawer? On more than one occasion! But you know, when I was sick they came in with their cleaning supply bucket and took care of my bathroom for me! It’s the little things in life.