The shoe-collecting problem is an ever-present issue in our household. With 12 feet running around, that’s a whole lot of shoes to trip over. Not to mention, getting ready to leave the house for school or activities becomes a battle of outcries: “I can’t find my shoes!”
One of the main rules in our house is to leave your shoes in the shoe basket by the back door. Part of the reasoning is that outside dirt and germs don’t need to dribble all around the house, but also, it helps to keep all the shoes in one place. Each kid has a basket and a cubby to drop their school belongings, jackets, and shoes. That way, there is no excuse to have school supplies, socks, or random shoes laying around the living room. With six people in our family, it could get unmanageable really quickly.
Other Simple Chores That Help Maintain Mom’s Sanity
We don’t have a long list of chores for our kids, but we do require that they help out around the house some. As I mentioned, we have a large family, and it gets difficult to constantly clean up after everyone. Also, Mom shouldn’t be the housemaid when we ALL live here!
Laundry: Around age seven or eight, I ask the kids to start helping to fold their own laundry. Usually, it’s the simple stuff like matching socks or folding towels. Then, at age 10, your laundry is all your own. Need a special shirt for school? Toss that into the washing machine yourself! Running low on towels? Yep, time for another load. Sometimes, our kids need a reminder, but generally, they take care of their own laundry. We also ask that they fold and put away their items (and we do weekly checks for their room to remind them to complete the task). Helping with laundry doesn’t just assist with the sheer amount of laundry to do for a household of six, it’s teaching our kids to be responsible for the things they need for their day or week.
Dishes: My nemesis is a sink full of dirty dishes. It makes my skin crawl. We try to get each kid to pick up their dishes after a meal, rinse them off, and place them in the dishwasher. I’d estimate this happens about 50% of the time, but it’s a huge help to have each person put away part of the dinner dishes. Even our little ones try to carry their (plastic) dishes to the sink to help. Being part of the dinner clean-up process reinforces the idea that we’re all in this together.
Cleaning Bedrooms: This is probably the hardest part, and we don’t stay on top of room cleaning as much as we should. Putting clothes away, throwing away old school papers, and straightening closets isn’t difficult, but gets skipped during hectic weekdays. Over the weekends, we try to get each child to pick up and get reorganized before fun activities can start. We also don’t allow food upstairs where the kids’ bedrooms are, so this helps greatly with the clean-up. About once a year, we assist each kid with a full bedroom and closet clean-out to get rid of clothes that don’t fit, donate toys that aren’t played with anymore, and trash the old school papers that have been shoved under the bed.
Some other simple chores we occasionally ask the kids to help with:
- Wipe down the table or kitchen counters
- Bring garbage bags to the outdoor trashcan
- Feed the dog
- Putting away groceries
- Clean their bathroom
- Swiffer the floors
Being part of a family means enjoying the household and also pitching in to help keep it functioning well. It’s important that our kids learn the responsibility of helping out and also the pride of taking care of things and our home well.