We love our weekend family time, but Sunday often becomes my day to prepare for the upcoming week. This will be the day I’ll call upon some fabulous mama friends to share their expertise on how to keep our homes running smoothly and our families well fed while still leaving plenty of time for school.
Today's post comes from my friend Crystal over at Solidity of Rainbows, who blogs about sewing, cooking, crafts, food, homesteading, farming, gardening, home schooling, urban life, music, saving money and whatever else comes along. The fact that she can do all that as a homeschooling mama of five gives me hope that I can pull it off at least some of it with just my two. Thanks, Crystal!
As a mother of five kids eight and under I'm constantly looking for Time Saving ways to get our everyday chores out of the way as quickly and painlessly as possible. One area we struggle with is room cleaning.
When my kids play they Play with a capital P. We had tried limiting the various toys to only one or two out at a time but it's hard when Playmobil man wants to visit dollhouse and Lego man just can't pass by without joining in. The trains help with transportation. Puzzles become landscapes. The horses on the shelf feel left out and sometimes even bathtub toys want to stop in to play house. I feel allowing them to explore all potentials during play is more important than my self-imposed need for tidy. But then how to tackle the leftover piles of mixed up toys when playtime is over? The blanket order of "Clean your room" becomes a wildly overwhelming prospect to little hands and minds.
Enter in: a hula hoop. Or circle or vaccuum hose or unplugged cord or lay down bunched up towels, whatever you can find that will make a small hollow perimeter. I find roughly 2x2' or 3x3' a reasonable size. Place this over a section of the toys and ask them to clean just that space. Sorting out toys becomes a much more managable task. When the area is cleaned, simply move the circle to another spot. I've found when using this method an extremely mess 12x12 room can get cleaned in under fifteen minutes. And crying, whining are virtually eliminated. Make a game, see who can sort the fastest or by colors, toy varieties, etc. Making it fun encourages the smaller ones to help out as well.
So, don't worry if your child's play gets out of hand. Playing is a key developmental activity for young ones that helps them to act out social situations and role play. Teaching them how to clean up with reasonable parental expectations is just another aspect of learning we all could benefit from. And don't forget -either playing or cleaning- have fun!