Chores and Preventing Overwhelm

Have you ever given your kids a ‘to do’ list of chores, ie: clean your room, clean the bathroom, dust the house, etc. and then watched their eyes glaze over as they wander off only to get distracted by anything and everything else?  

That’s not your kids being lazy or defiant.  What you are seeing is a child experiencing overwhelm.  

They don’t know where or how to start with that vague list you just gave them.  The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way.  There are several ways you can make it easier on everyone!

Here are three simple things you can do to help prevent this overwhelm and help your kids thrive during chore time.

  1. Choose Age-Appropriate Chores

Always assign age-appropriate chores. Consider your child’s abilities, attention span, and physical capabilities. Younger children may only be able to handle simple tasks like dusting or setting the table, while older children can take on more complex chores like laundry or cleaning the bathroom.

  1. Clear and Specific Instructions

Instead of saying, “Clean your room,” you can ask them to first pick up all the toys, then make the bed, and finally, put dirty clothes in the hamper. This approach makes the task less daunting and more achievable. Which brings us to #3…

   3.  Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

Chores with multiple steps can be daunting for children, leading to overwhelm. To avoid this, break larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps.  You can write the steps down or sit with them as you go over what needs to be done next.  Or you can grab The Shine Guides and make it super easy on yourself!

  Bonus: Be Flexible!

While routines are essential, it’s also crucial to be flexible. Kids might have a rough day at school, or family events might disrupt the usual chore schedule. Be sure to adjust expectations and allow some leeway, ensuring that kids don’t feel extra stressed by expectations at home.

Remember that as the parents it’s important to create balance and be understanding. By assigning age-appropriate tasks, providing clear instructions, and breaking down tasks into smaller steps, you can help your children develop valuable life skills without feeling overwhelmed!

 

Choosing the Right Cleaning Products for Kids

During the design process of the Chore Guides, I was not only puzzling out a way to get my kids more involved in helping with the chores, but what cleaning supplies to entrust in their care.

One major roadblock I encountered was what type of cleaning products I wanted my kids to use while doing their chores. I shuddered as I imagined my five-year-old trying to navigate a drippy bottle of spray bleach. I could easily picture a perfect little trail of bleach drops across my brand new carpet, or windex dripping across my brand new hardwoods… No, thank you!

After a quick trip to google and (subsequently) a lot of research, I discovered the magic of microfiber cloths. I was surprised to find that microfiber cloths were the obvious choice for cleaning-not only for my kids, but for me, too! Using microfiber cloths not only protected my house from drippy bottles of harsh cleansers, but it also protected my kids from drippy bottles of harsh cleansers. The only ‘ingredient’ they required was water.

Yep, Just wet the cloths with water.  No sprays or chemicals.

I know, I was dubious too, but after watching countless youtube videos and reading website posts and blogs singing their praises, I was determined to give them a try.

 

MICROFIBER CLOTHS: HOW DO THEY WORK?

So, what is the science behind cleaning with a microfiber cloth?   The simplest explanation is this: millions of teeny, tiny fibers (smaller than the hair on your head) are woven together super tightly and, when used with water, are able to suck up dirt, germs, bacteria, and all manner of grossness up into the cloth…and hold it there.  It won’t smear or redistribute the bacteria once it’s been sucked up.  It’s safe to use on any surface that can tolerate getting damp.  You don’t have to worry about sprays, chemicals, nothing drippy or dangerous for children to handle.  All the child has to do is get the cloth wet and wring it out and they are good to get cleaning…and when they are done, they can hang the cloth in the sink for continual use or a trip to the laundry.

Aside from weekly chores, I also use my microfiber cloths on a daily basis in my kitchen.  I will use the same cloth for several days (rinsed well and hung to dry between uses) unless I clean something especially germy, such as raw chicken.  Along that same vein, I break from my chemical-free cleaning when someone in our house vomits.  Even though the science is behind microfiber cloths, even for stomach viruses, I still go full bleach…because I’m just not going to mess around with stomach virus germs.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

ARE MICROFIBER CLOTHS DIFFICULT TO FIND?

I know what you’re asking. Where can I find these magical cloths? Well lucky for you, microfiber cloths are sold all over the place. You can find them on Amazon, Target, even at the dollar store! If you’re on the fence about cleaning with microfiber cloths, grabbing a pack of cheaper cloths is a great way to see if you like using them.

 It has been life changing to find this method of cleaning. I set my kids free with their wet cloth and they get their chores done without ruining any of my countertops, carpets, floors, or surfaces.  I don’t have to buy any consumable cleaning products anymore, which has ended up saving us a lot of money.  They are also super easy to care for.  Once my kids are finished with their chores they throw the used cloths in a sink where I gather them up and throw them in the wash.

As for my family, we are already converted to using microfiber cloths, and have been using E-cloths to clean our home for four years now.  They are super high quality with the advantage of also being affordable. If you want to try them out for your family, I recommend starting with their starter pack that includes four multipurpose cloths and one polishing cloth.  I am in love.

Not only do they work for hard surfaces, E-cloths can also be used on shiny and stainless steel surfaces.  There is a special polishing cloth that is used after the mirror/glass/appliance has been wiped down with the regular cloth.  This polishing cloth with make your surface gleam as nicely as if you had used glass cleaner.

If you’re not ready to make the investment into E-Cloth, you could also order a less expensive package of microfiber cloths from Amazon.  Try them and see how they function for your family!

ARE THE CLOTHS EASY TO TAKE CARE OF?

Microfiber cloths are super easy to care for. To clean them, you stick them in the washer with some fragrance free detergent (I have heard that fragrances can clog the microfibers) and wash and dry them only with other microfiber cloths…and that’s it.

Finding this cleaning solution has been such a game changer for chore time in our house.  I hope this post will help you as you set out to find the best cleaning options for your family!

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Three Tips to Help Chores Run Smoother

If your kids are anything like mine, the word ‘chores’ sends them running for the hills.  I dream of the day that my kids cheerfully carry out their chores, but that dream is slightly under the dream of winning the lottery…so what I’m saying is that if a genie pops out of the bottle to grant me one wish, that wish is taken.

Anyway….Chore time.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to read through my post, Creating the Chore Guides, so you can get an idea of what the Chore Guides are and how they play a big role in chore time at my house.  We typically do our deep cleaning on Saturday mornings, in between soccer games or whatever seasonal extracurricular activity my kids are involved in.  We don’t really have all day to get these chores done, but it’s important that we keep up on them weekly so that nothing gets so far out of control that they can’t manage the chore themselves.  The following tips are meant to help keeping chore time running smoothly.

Tip #1:  Set out all the supplies in a common area.

This is pretty self explanatory, but an important tip nonetheless.  If all the supplies are routinely set out in the same spot each week, your children will quickly learn where to look for the supplies on their chore helper and stop constantly asking you for these things.  I highly recommend using microfiber cloths when having your kids do chores!

Tip #2:  Make sure you have kept up on maintenance cleaning.

What’s this, you say?  I have to clean in order for my kids to clean?  Unfortunately, yes.  You will quickly find that if you set your child out to clean your wooden staircase with a duster, and you haven’t swept that staircase in a month, your child is not going to get very far.  Likewise, you can sure try to give your child a wet cloth to wipe down the garbage cupboard, but if you spilled spaghetti sauce all down the inside and let it dry into a stubborn spaghetti glue, your child is most likely going to give up on that mess immediately.  Which brings me to….

Tip #3:  Manage your expectations.

Even with the Chore Guides you are going to have to manage your expectations when it comes to the cleaning abilities of your child.  I have had a lot of success with my children of varying ages being able to mix and match the chore guides and complete the chores.  However, as I mentioned above, there may be times where the chore has grown past the point of the child completing it without your assistance.

Hopefully following these three tips will help you keep chore time running like a well oiled machine!

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