Just wanted to share an idea that has been working well for us. I never seem to find time to actually pick up/clean my house, with homeschooling, appointments, counselors, etc. So last fall, I started reserving my Fridays for cleaning days. I let go of my own "guilt" for having one less day for school, and realized that we ALL need a day to just regroup and pick up/tidy up. What I discovered last week is a "fun" way to clean now, with my 3 kids! Craziness. I pick an area/room/zone, and the kids draw straws (if they don't agree) and then I work one on one with a child cleaning that space. The other two kids are given "freebie" time - playing computer/watching a movie, etc. They can do just about anything as long as there is no arguing. I have a "no tolerance" that day for any argument, lol. They WILL be put to work if there is a snit. This was the 2nd week I did it this way, and my kids could hardly sleep Thursday, they were so excited!
Here is the best testimony to how this has worked. Last week, I had a "trashed" basement - our homeschool/craft/library/books/toy zone. It was scary. It took me about 2 hrs with each kid, but we got it PERFECT! Reorganized, I even reorganized part of my laundry room, which hasn't happened in years. Because I was able to occupy the other two kids with media (guilt free, lol), I was able to have one-on-one time with one child at a time - we worked together on a section of the basement. Then, when that section was straightened up, picked up, organized, AND vacuumed, I moved on. It took a LONG time, but the kids did not fight or argue once, because they didn't want the extra work. Before, on "cleaning days", I would be running here and there, putting out this snit, that fight, this argument, getting another kid on task, and we'd ALL get to the end of the day, tired, crabby and angry.
My kids are 11, 8 and 5. My 11 year old is ADHD (intensely), and we had a GREAT time chatting about video game strategies, and picking up. My 8 year old is the kind of daydreamer that literally cannot SEE the mess, even when she's stepping on it. For her, I would hand her things, she would put it in a little satchel and "deliver it" to the location it went in. I didn't have to run here/there/willynilly, getting distracted! I could have HER do the "errands" in her zone. My 5 year old is actually my "best" cleaner, and he was SO excited for mommy time, that he JUMPED at the opportunity to go first and to have that time with me. The same thing happened this week, where I DEEP cleaned my two oldest kids' rooms. I mean - DEEP. Reorganized, found stuff that had been missing awhile, etc. DEEP cleaning. And, no arguing! It was crazy.
Because they get the "fun" time in between cleaning, they aren't arguing, fussing and whining. They are ENJOYING our cleaning days, AND, now that they're getting older, they have managed to keep the basement perfectly clean for an entire week! For us, that's major.
Sorry for the length - but I really wanted to share. I am SO excited about how this worked out for our family, and I would LOVE to let others try it for their families, if it works in your schedule. I have tried, unsuccessfully, for years, to find time and energy to house clean on top of appointments, lessons, homeschooling, waiting rooms, etc. Well, two weeks in, and my house looks better than it has since we moved here!