regrets, chores, & griffin

While visiting with my parents over the 4th of July, I asked my mom a simple (but loaded) questions:

“What is one of your parenting regrets from when we were younger?”

Her answer was not what I expected, but I was so glad she said it:

“I wish I would have made you guys help more around the house.”

That’s a good one.  Chores and kids is such a tricky thing.  But if my mom regrets not pushing the issue, then it’s probably a good idea for me to be better about it with my brood.

So yesterday I started my new “help me clean” campaign with a sweeping game I saw on pinterest HERE.  It’s not linked to a blog post so I don’t know much about the genius behind it, except that you make a square on the floor using tape (I used black and white washi tape from target) and challenge the kids to sweep messes into the area.

It’s been working really well, & also keeps people from walking through dirt piles (so annoying when that happens).

And if your name is Griffin,

then it’s also a fantastic place to grab a snack.

What is your take on cleaning and kids?  What works for you & what is most challenging about it?  I love hearing your thoughts and ideas and know it’s helpful for other readers as well!

Happy Monday.

xo . Rae
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  • Polly July 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I know I am “old school” but I am a firm believer in teaching your children to share in the responsibility of the house (and yard).

    My biggest belief is in making up the bed. It doesn’t have to be perfect (and usually is far from it), but make the effort every day. And I teach by example, very rarely will anyone find my bed unmade.

    I was a single mom who raised a son who knew how to cook, clean and do his laundry when he left home. He is getting married this fall, and I’m fairly certain that his bride-to-be is greatly appreciative that he not only enjoys a clean house, but knows that he shares in the responsibility of having that 🙂

    • rae July 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      so cool and encouraging! thanks for sharing polly…. xo

    • nanny February 13, 2013 at 7:04 am

      Good morning, I am a mom of seven, grandmother of twelve and I think you are so right on in this respect. My children were expected to do chores which made them sometimes resent this, but they certainly learned to respect what they had and felt a deep connection to OUR home. Six married and do share in ALL that marriage/parenting entails. Blessings, Mary AKA NANNY

  • Toni July 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Hi Rae,
    I COMPLETELY agree with your Mom. I have 2 Older boys and 1 younger. Big age gap between the older and younger, 10 years. And my husband and I always say we WISH we would have had our older boys do more chores. I think it’s a good thing to have them help out around the Family/their Home. I am trying to have my younger son help out more but it is still challenging because sometimes it’s just easier to do it ourselves. But long term it is so worth it to have the kids help…For SURE better for them.

  • Aja July 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I have a 13, twin 11year olds, a 2 year old, and expecting our 5th. My nerves are shot with the constant repeating of having to tell my older ones to cleanup after themselves. It’s can drive a mother to become crazy. They have nightly chores, weekend chores. But it’s the fix the couch if your leaving, wipe the cereal crumbs, wipe the water splashed all around the sink, make ur bed when you wake up that’s makin me insane. I yell, I’m calm, I reward…yet nothing. So now I ground. Cant clean up your ice cream, you get none for a week. It’s harsh but these kids can be in control and destroy everything. My 2 year old get crib out “time out” when he’s done with his fit I teach him how to pick up. If he does it wrong, we repeat it. If he doesn’t do it I take his hand make him do it, even if his crying. Sorry this is so long. This was actually the reason I feel like I’m emotional spent. The constant policing. It’s miserable.

    • nanny February 13, 2013 at 7:21 am

      You have it. Keep up this insanity, it will get better and the children will gain respect for what you have and how your home should be cared for. We live in a I,Me,Me,Me society. I can remember my son not doing His job, clean sweep Our porch and an “only child” waiting right outside my porch ready to Play, angry, because he had to wait. He also said ” why doesn’t his Sister do the women’s job anyhow ” let me say the conversation was not what he expected. Keep on Keeping on, It pays Off. Enjoy your day, Mary, AKANanny

  • Shon July 10, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Our kids are almost 12, 10 and 6. They have chores that they rotate on a monthly basis. The older two are girls and this summer they are learning to wash clothes and clean dishes properly. My little big man takes care of setting the table and is learning to take care of the trash. We are not so stringent, but it works and there is room for improvement. My next goal is to teach my son to clean the toilet!! UGH!

  • Shon July 10, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Uh, for the record it is only 12:49 where I am. Ok, it’s late but, not 4:49 am late! LOL

  • melissaerin July 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    it took me to have my 5th baby to know that i not only needed the kids to help out more, but that they even like to do it…sometimes. 🙂 my kids are 8, 7, 5, 3 and 1. the two oldest have responsibilities such as: loading/unloading dishwasher, scrubbing potties, taking out the trash, and vacuming. the 5 and 3 year old bring down the dirty laundry, set the table and gather the eggs (we live on a farm). all are responsible for getting dirty dishes to the sink and making their beds/cleaning their rooms. it is really working out pretty great. i just needed to get organized and figure out the things that they could do…no it’s not always like i would like to have it being done, but that’s my issue… 🙂

  • Rachel July 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Love the sweepin square idea! I’m going to start that TODAY! In our home, I started asking my kids one simple question, “Do you have the freedom to…(leave the table, go play outside, go downstairs)? That’s all I say, but something in it triggers them to look around, and ask themselves, “Do I?” My 5 year old picked up right away that she would have to clean up her toys/clothes/dishes before she might be “free” to move on. My 3 year old did beautifully with a few instances of modeling how he could earn the freedom. I find they clean more thoroughly, and I nag less!

  • Brianne July 11, 2012 at 3:07 am

    I tried this today after I saw this on your blog. My two older kids spent and hour sweeping into the square. And like your little guy, my daughter kept trying to take goldfish out of the square. Afterward they wanted to mop! Which was a little trickier since it was more fun to spray the mop liquid than to actually mop. Thanks for the idea

  • meghan July 13, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I loved reading everyone’s comments!! We have 2 daily chores for Ari. Make bed every morning. Clean kitchen (empty/load dishwasher). 🙂 These are things we don’t really have to ask her to do anymore….so nice. Her room however is always a complete disaster…..ugh.