Sometimes people ask me how I can be so organised. For that there are lots of answers - routines I follow on a daily basis to make sure everything gets done, planning for the week ahead, calendars, batch cooking and having set things to do on certain days so that I don't lose track of when I last did them.
Tuesday is bedroom day. The one day each week that we make sure all bedding is changed and I spend no more than 30 mins doing a quick dust and hoover round each room to keep on top of things. One of the ways I manage to stay so organised and get things done in such a short space of time is that I don't do it all myself! There are 3 other people in my house, including 2 children under the age of 6 and believe it or not, I make them strip their own beds each week and do the washing! Plus, they do it without making a fuss!
How? Why? I hear you all cry! For me this is simple, I start training them from a young age. I think when children see you doing household chores and you ask them to help you, most little ones jump at the chance to get stuck in. Especially when it's something new to do, like pulling a big duvet out of the cover or trying to push all of the washing into the washing machine and getting to turn the dial and press the start button. It's just like playing with a giant electronic toy!
If you introduce the idea whilst they're enthusiastic and it's still a novelty then you can give them the responsibility of doing their own bed each week and then even when the novelty wears off, by that time it is part of their weekly routine and they just get on with it.
By sticking to our 'bedrooms Tuesday' routine, I'm pleased to say (with smug smile on my face) that my eldest daughter now strips her bed, puts it in her washing basket, takes it downstairs, puts it in the washing machine and switches it on all before breakfast, saving me a good 5-10 mins, which makes a lot of difference when there is so little time in the mornings to get everything done before the school run. I can then normally get that load of washing either in the tumble dryer or on the line (if ever we have a warm, sunny day!!) before we leave for school. If I'm lucky, I'll also get the next load of washing in the machine with my 2 year old's bedding - she's still in the training stage!!
Apart from just getting my children to help me to save time getting things done so that I can stay organised and on top of things, I also think teaching children to do regular household chores is so important. It gives them life-skills and teach them about responsibility, taking pride in their work, helping others and self-efficacy. I think it also helps your children to see how much you do for them on an every day basis as they start to realise how much time these jobs can take and what is involved. I've actually found my daughter now offers to help me with many other things that I haven't asked her to help with and it can be a real bonding experience.
I'm always gobsmacked when I hear parents talking about their much older children not having a clue how to help around the home or having the unwillingness to do even the more minor chores. I know some people that have called home whilst at university asking how to work the washing machine or looking at a pile of dirty washing and just wondering whether they should just throw it away?!
I know that when my children turn into teenagers and everything becomes so much more of an effort because their social lives will rank a lot higher on their lists of things to do, that I might find the weekly bedding request a bit more of a hardship. However, at least I know that when they leave home I won't be getting that phone call and I shall expect clean bedding whenever I come to visit!