1. Get dressed and get your children dressed. Wear an apron and in the pocket put a pad of paper and a pencil. When you get irate during the day about an area of the house that is not working for you or a chore that the children should know how to do but aren’t doing, then instead of losing your temper, write it down. By writing it down you can let it go and not be bothered by it all day. You can say, “I will make a plan for fixing ____ later.” Then smile. At the end of the day or on Office Day you will take this paper and you will make a plan for how you are going to address the problem.
2. Feed them something, a peanut butter sandwich, scrambled eggs, something so that they won’t rummage through the cupboards or beg you for food when you are trying to focus on work. Pray with the children for God’s help in restoring your home.
3. Put something in the crockpot for supper, you don’t want to have to worry about supper all day.
4. Tell the children what the plan is for recovering the house and assign them to certain tasks. Assign someone as babysitter or put the littlest children at an activity that will keep them busy for a long time, not the TV.
5. Put on some peppy music that will help keep the momentum going.
Now that the prep work is done, it is time to clean. I suggest that the first two rooms you concentrate on are your kitchen and the room that guests see first when they walk into your home. Set your timer and work for 15 minutes. Then take a break, stand back and look at the progress. Congratulate your children on being such good workers. Assign tasks again and set the timer for another 15 minutes. Take another small break, if you take too long of a break you will lose momentum and your children will begin to wander off, you need to help them stay focused. After an hour of this cycle, take a longer break. Get drinks and maybe a snack, do a lap around the house for fresh air. Then evaluate what more needs done on the public room and the kitchen. Ask the children what they think needs to be done yet. Sometimes they see things that we don’t.
After the public room and the kitchen, work on the dining room. Usually our dining rooms have a lot of level surfaces that collect clutter. Assign each child an area and set the timer for 15 minutes. Hopefully, this will take care of the clutter, if not, do the cycle again. Remember to give lots of praise for good work. Once the clutter is put away, work on cleaning, especially dusting and cobwebs. Dust seems to collect around clutter and hide. Use the timer, take breaks, and admire your work.
After the dining room, work on bathrooms. Assign a fast child to clear off counters, a medium sized child to take laundry to the washer, a medium sized child to wipe the tubs and showers, a small child to do mirrors, another small child to wipe counters, and big kids to wash the toilets. Your job is to hold the timer, give cleaning instructions and encourage. Once the bathrooms are done, it time for a big break. Take an hour, lay on the couch and read aloud.
The next room will be the family room. This room usually overflows with books, magazines, newspapers, and toys. Give each child a bag, assign them to an area and have them pitch anything that’s not current. Next, put away all toys in their proper place. Now, with your children, stop and take a break, and look around. Assign the rest of the tasks, such as trash pick up, cushion straightening, digging under tables and behind furniture, dusting and vacuuming. Set the timer for 15 minutes and go. Now, it should be done but if it’s not, take a little break but not so long that you lose momentum. Then finish whatever is left and take another little break.
Probably the only thing left to clean are the bedrooms. I know what children can do to bedrooms. Just like you can get very discouraged looking at a messy house, they get very discouraged when they are told to clean a very messy bedroom. Give them specific tasks to do and report back to you when they are done. Let them take breaks between tasks but do not lose momentum or let them wander off. You should be dividing your time between encouraging them in their work and working in your own bedroom. The children will do better work when they see you also working at the same tasks. Take breaks or perhaps save the bedroom job for tomorrow with a fresh attitude. After all the work you’ve done today, you may need to stop and restart tomorrow after a good night’s sleep.
First task to do should be to make the bed, this is motivating because the bed takes up such a large portion of the room and when the beds are made the room looks much cleaner. Look at all their beds and tell them “Great Work!” Next task, collect dirty laundry and take to washer. Then put any clean laundry away. If they have a huge toy mess then break it down into specific kinds of toys for each task. Remember to have them report to you after each task is done. Check their progress and offer praise. Use the timer for each task to keep momentum going and to demonstrate that things are not usually as big of a job as perceived. Now, have them dig out the stuff from under their beds. It is fun for them to dig out and find all their lost things but be sure to keep them focused in putting the things away to their proper place. Now, it is time to take care of the tops of dressers and shelves. Once again break it into specific tasks. Do a closet tidy for 15 minutes. You might have to give lots of direction and help for this job. After this, it is time to catch cobwebs, dust and vacuum.
Now, most of the house should be clean. Sit down to a hot supper that you made hours ago. Tell your husband what hardworking helpers you have and enjoy the feeling of a job well done. Do not rest on your laurels too long though, the table chores need to be done after every meal and the daily chores need to be done daily. Then you shouldn’t need to have one of these marathon days.
Learn more coping strategies and how to get it together while still loving your family in the book