How to keep a home fabulous? Put your toddler to work. (You think I’m kidding?)
Doing chores happens at my house. It’s the only way. I mean, my 3 year old LOVES picking things up and jumps at the chance to put her toys back into the pink storage bins in her room. YEAH. RIGHT.
My kids hate the concept of doing chores! (Although my older daughter is much more likely to roll with things and cooperate. But my little one? Forget it. Don’t bother her, she’s busy playing in the dirt… and girls who play in dirt aren’t exactly neat freaks.)
But: We. Do. Chores. Including you, 3 year old. I stick to my requests. I don’t back down. I’ll help her, but I don’t back down. I even sing that stupid song (Clean up! Clean up! Everybody, everywhere!) If need be, I’ll physically pick her up and move her towards the mess. (Her older sister helps too.) Here’s what we do at our house:
1) TAKE PLATES UP TO THE SINK. Ok, technically my girls take it to the counter which is right next to the sink (mostly because I don’t want them dropping plates that can break). It’s now become a part of our meal time.
2) FIX OUR BEDS. I haven’t *absolutely required* my 3 year old to do this all by herself yet but we’re almost there…. my almost-5 year old is actually getting pretty good at it. The pillows get piled in weird ways and the comforter’s all crooked, but guess what: the object of the game is just to do it for habit purposes. Maybe I can credit what I did when my girls were babies for this?
3) CLEAN UP YOUR MESS BEFORE YOU MAKE ANOTHER ONE. This one’s probably the most difficult to pull off, but I’m fighting the good fight. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, the times it works makes my life more fabulous. (And that’s fabulous.)
4) PICK UP YOUR SHOES! Because we leave our shoes in the kitchen, the den, the bathroom and – according to my husband – on the kitchen table (that’s a lie, by the way). Shoes belong in the closet… take them there.
5) TRASH THINGS. When I pick up our big family messes, I often call my girls over, hand them whatever piece of worthless scrap I might find and ask “Can you please go put this in the trash?” Thing is, my question is not really a request…
And, even though I never sent my girls to Montessori school, I adore this ‘age-appropriate chore chart’ originally designed by Maria Montessori. Because raising good citizens is at the top of this Fab Mom’s list. So I’m trying. Every small effort counts. And a fabulous, picked-up house can only happen if you’ve got help. And good citizens know how to help others.