Posts Tagged ‘chores’

Encouraging Goal Setting

January 21st, 2013 1:45am
New Years Resolutions

It's time to remind ourselves as well as our children about the importance of goal setting and achieving!

Yes, it is once again that magical time of year when we sit down with ourselves, evaluate our progress over the last year and recommit to (or redefine) our goals for the new year. This is challenging task for us adults and even more so for out children. Oftentimes we put ourselves and our families on autopilot and miss out on the importance of goal setting in our lives. Leading by example and teaching our kids to set their own goals helps give them focus in their work and play. It helps them, as well as us parents, make decisions about the use of their time. And being in sync with our children’s goals can help us guide them to making better choices throughout each day.

Here are a few suggestions that I have opted to try out on my own family this year. Sometimes the greatest challenge to goal setting is knowing where to start. Here are a few prompts to get you going!…

• Set goals that build spiritual strength
Whatever your religious beliefs, seek after goals that bring you closer to your spiritual self. Pray and teach your children to pray. Freely forgive others. Read to your children from scriptures or stories that teach good principles and values. Develop a habit of study (help your kids learn to give over a part of their day to some kind of practice or study). Participate in your religious meetings with your children.

• Set goals that increase knowledge
Select a subject of interest to study (a great way to discover some of your childs hidden intersts!). Learn another language (kids love learning even a few words of a different language…make it a secret way to communicate between you!). Develop or learn about a new skill or interest (a great way to start identifying your child’s abilities). Improve your ability to communicate with others (teach your children manners in…how do we talk to one another?).

• Set Goals that increase personal well-being and health
Develop healthy eating habits (make a game of the pantry…what is good, better, best to eat?). Learn to prepare healthy foods (kids especially love this one! Use a cookie cutter to cut those healthy bites down to a more manageable and fun size!). Develop a program of regular exercise (dancing in the family room with your toddler definitely counts!). Create opportunities to be active with family and friends (bike riding is very popular in our household).

• Set Goals that increase your ability to serve others
Give service to your family (what jobs can we do for each other?). Volunteer to help a neighbor or friend (have your child ask themselves “who needs me today”). Write (or draw for younger kids) a letter/picture to send to someone special. Commit to finding someone to help each day.

• Set goals that increase moral strength
Overcome a bad habit (any thumb suckers out there? How about interrupters? Waiting your turn to speak is a tough one for kids). Learn to be grateful and express your appreciation (teaching kids the value of thank you notes after the holidays is a great way to accomplish this!). Improve your ability to manage time (print your calendars!). Learn to enjoy hard work (chore charts, anyone?). Cultivate patience and tolerance for others (helping them identify ways to get along with a sibling). Identify ways to recognize in yourself when you are doing your best.

We hope these guidelines will help you shape some wonderful goals for yourselves and your  family this year! Remember, “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement!” (Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog). Good luck stoking those little furnaces this year!

We hope you will sound off in our “Inspiration for Parents” forum about the ways you have found success in your own families with goal setting.

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Posted in Calendaring Tips, Family and Home, General, Inspirational, Parenting Tips, Time Management Tips | No Comments »

Ok, how many of you have been arguing with your little ones over picking up that wrapper or throwing away those scraps of paper they left all over the kitchen after their latest craft creation? Most of the time, I hear the excuse “I didn’t see it!”. I’m always amazed at how kids can turn a blind eye to clutter that seems to leap out at us parents. But no more! Enter “Mystery Trash”!…

What is “Mystery Trash” you ask? Now before I begin, I have to give proper credit to my kids wonderful teachers who instituted this practice in their classrooms as a way to encourage kids to pick up after themselves. It worked so well for them that I thought I’d give it a try this summer at home. First, I walk through the house in the morning and find some piece of trash that needs picking up. I then designate this piece of trash as the “Mystery Trash” for the day. Now for the fun part! I announce to my kiddos that the “Mystery Trash” has been selected and whoever finds it will win a special prize at the end of the day! And the race to clean begins! They race around the house trying to find every piece of trash and throw it away in hopes that they will be the winner for the day…I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my house this spotless! And the kids had a wonderful time doing it!

Give it a try and see if you don’t have some very happy cleaners in your house!

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Move over, magic eraser!…

August 27th, 2010 7:45pm

This is a small spot area in my car before I attacked it with Dash Away. You can see where my floor mat had been.

Ok, you busy parents of little mess makers, hold onto to your carseats because we’ve got a product that will absolutely make your “must haves” list!

I was contacted by Surf City Garage out of Huntington Beach, CA with a cleaning product they said couldn’t be beat. Having five children of my own and the various messes that accompany them, i have tried innumerable products and none seem to completely live up to their claims of “miraculous” cleaning power. So I was naturally quite skeptical of Surf City Garages claims for their Dash Away all purpose cleaning product. It arrived on my doorstep with the guarantee from its founder, Tim Miller, that “when used as directed, if this product isn’t the best you’ve ever tried, give me a call and I’ll buy it back.” As you will see from the pictures, I have no intention of calling Mr. Miller!

"after" Dash Away

This is the picture I took of the same area about 2 minutes after I applied Dash Away. You can barely see the earlier line of grime defining where the floor mat had been!

I decided to test it out on some of the toughest, most resilient stains I have at my disposal… my car. I have had the carpet professionally cleaned several times and was told to resign myself to the fact that certain stains are just impossible to remove. I very skeptically followed the directions for Dash Away…shaking the bottle, spraying a light mist over the stain, and then wiping it clean with a rag. Way too simple, I thought, until I began to actually “see” the stain begin to disappear! And as if thats not enough, it actually smells good too!

I turned my good friend Jodie onto the product to help her with a 3 year old, sun baked koolaid stain. She has had the stain professionally treated several times with no visible results. After showing her the product, she promptly went out and bought not only the Dash Away product but also the window and leather cleaners! Here’s her take on the Surf City Garage products…

“It lightened the koolaid…it worked on all the dark spots on carpet and got the smudge off the sides of the car and doors. I liked the cleaner because its not sticky or oily. I usually like aerosol window stuff but this stuff didn’t streak or leave smears.”

Needless to say, I am now a devoted fan! The product is non toxic and safe to use on a number of materials like vinyl, leather, carpet, fabrics like car seats, strollers and the like. Although it was designed for car cleaning, the applications seem limitless. I have no problem endorsing this product and highly recommend it to anyone looking for quick, easy and thorough cleaning results (and it’s only $9.99!). I was able to clean the entire interior of my Denali in less than 15 minutes with results that were better than the $60 professional interior detail I not only paid for but also waited over two hours to have completed several months ago!

Check out more info on Dash Away and other Surf City Garage cleaning products at Happy cleaning!

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By Julie Smart for Ideas That Spark

Toddler cleaning spree!

What can we say, when you get kids motivated to clean, if nothing else...they're FAST!

Here are my top four tips on getting — and keeping — your house super-clean without much effort.

1. Have a basket contest.
Are you playrooms and bedrooms messy and completely disorganized? Give each of your children a basket and have a contest to see who can get the most items in the basket in two minutes. Reward the winning child with a small prize.

2. Sing, dance and clean.
Put on a sing-along, and have everyone sing and dance while cleaning. For young children, try the Barney cleanup song: It’s fun and short enough for a young child to learn.

3. Reward donations.
When children clean out a toy box or room, it may be hard to get them to depart with things they don’t really need. Set a number of items for them to get rid of, and reward them for donating a certain amount. It teaches them to depart with items they don’t really use, and it cuts down on clutter.

4. Give a child a spray bottle.
This tip worked great for my own kids, since every child wanted to help and not feel left out: For children that are too young to help with cleaning, give them each a clean paper towel and small spray bottle filled with water. Ask them to help you by cleaning the refrigerator door or something in the area that you are currently in.

I recommend buying a new, empty bottle that didn’t previously have cleaner in it in case your children spray it in their eyes or mouth. When you’re done, children can put away their “special” spray bottle of cleaner until next time.

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Get Clean on a Budget

June 14th, 2010 6:51pm

Ideas That Spark: Mom2Mom

Get Clean on a Budget

By Renae Chiovaro for Ideas That Spark

By Renae Chiovaro

Cleaning products are a necessity in any home, but for tough jobs in big houses, costs can add up. It is possible to spend less on cleaning products without cutting your cleaning power. Whether you have $5 to spend on cleaning products or $50, these simple tips will help you clean house on a very limited budget.

1. Use old-fashioned soap and water.
Dish soap is a mild cleanser that can be used on multiple surfaces. To clean countertops, use hot soapy water.

2. Clean a little every day.
Put some effort into cleaning at least one thing every day. Cleaning will be less daunting and require gentler cleaning products if it occurs regularly.

3. Clean the dryer vents and refrigerator coils regularly.
Appliances run more efficiently when they are properly maintained. Plus, you will extend the life of your machine.

4. Less is more when it comes to dishwasher and laundry soap.
Using too much soap can lead to appliance damage — plus, it’s a waste of costly detergent. Follow the instructions on the package to use the appropriate amount of soap. If you have soft water, you can use even less soap than the manufacturers recommend.

5. Implement a “no shoes rule” in your house.
This will cut down on the amount of dirt and debris tracked in the home. Place a basket at the door to serve as shoe storage.

6. Reuse used items.
If you’ve just used a paper towel to dry off washed fruit, use the now-wet paper towel to quickly swipe over stains or spills on kitchen counters. A sponge that was once used to clean dishes can now be used to get small spills of the floor.

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Too young for chores?

December 17th, 2009 6:37pm
Cleaning can be a fun and productive game for your toddler to play!

Cleaning can be a fun and productive game for your toddler to play!

I have asked myself this question time and time again as my four children have grown each year. As a new mom with my first, I always assumed that 4 yrs old was just too young to be able to help mommy with the chores. With my second, I thought maybe they could help at 4. With my third I noticed that the desire to clean was motivated by the thrill of learning something new and they really seemed to enjoy contributing to the chores. And now, as I watch my fourth, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that children not only have a desire to help as early as 2 yrs old, but they also think it’s fun! And surprisingly enough, they can do a pretty darn good job!

If you are looking to encourage your child to begin contributing to the household chores, here are a few guidelines:

  • The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple, keep it age appropriate and praise, praise, PRAISE!
  • It is also a good idea to remember that the younger the child, the shorter spurts you should work in.
  • Tackle one job at a time. Don’t throw three “to do” items at them at once or they will be easily discouraged and overwhelemed.
  • A chore chart will give your little one an extra sense of accomplishment and a way to have everyone in the family recognize their effort and accomplishment.

Here are some ideas to get you started at the different ages…

Age 2:

  • Wet wipes: It’s pretty simple, give them a wet wipe and point them in the right direction! At this age, kids love the magic of the wet wipe. It’s truly amazing…you find a mess, run the wet wipe over it, and presto! No more mess! Let kids have fun with this one. There really is very little damage they can to with a wet wipe in hand!
  • Organize: This is a great opportunity to teach sorting skills to your toddler. Get several storage boxes and label them with a picture (i.e. car box, people/animal box, craft box, music box, etc.). Get them started by putting a few items in each box. They will get the hang of this quickly and hone a valuable skill in the process!
  • Laundry: Sorting laundry can be a fun learning activity too. Let your toddler help you sort the laundry by color. Have three bins (light, dark, and whites). Put a few items in each bin to start with. You can teach your toddler colors while they help you with your chores!

Age 4-5

  • Laundry: Let your kids help you with the laundry by taking their bed sheets off of their beds and bringing them to you, putting them in the correct color bin. Kids at this age are also very capable and excited to both fold and put their clothes away on their own too. Remember that not all will be as perfect as you might like but don’t nitpick (it’s the quickest way to discourage a child from even trying). Positive encouragement and lots of praise will take them a long way to improvement!
  • Dishes: Yes, though it may sound crazy to give a 4 year old a breakable object and let them walk across tile floor for any length of time, they are very capable of carrying out this task. Our 4/5 year old has become a very skilled “dish put-er away-er” at our house and knows better than my 8 year old where things go!
  • Gardening: This is a fun one for kids. Put them in charge of watering your plants each day. They will love filling the water pot themselves and watching how their plants grow! Pulling weeds, cleaning leaves, and sweeping floors can all be easy activities for these guys.

Age 6-8

  • Definitely ready for some heavy duty work! These little ones can handle any window job you can dish out. Dusting is a definite fun past time (turn them loose in the house with a duster and watch the dedication!).
  • Organizing: This is a no brainer for these guys, especially if you started at age 2.
  • Laundry: Show them the ropes of your washer and put them in charge of a load or two. They can also dry dishes with the best of ’em!
  • Vacuuming: Depending on the size of your vacuum and size of your child, this can be a lot of fun.
  • Mopping: Cleaning my kitchen floor is one of my 8 year olds favorite activities!
  • Gardening: With adult supervision and a little help, even lawn mowing and trimming the bushes can be a fun challenge for these guys!

I am not a huge fan of letting kids handle any kind of heavy duty chemical while cleaning…especially if you are not planning to supervise the entire process. A suggestion, most things can be well cleaned and disinfected with a homemade solution of vinegar and water. It’s very gentle and you don’t have to worry about your kids around harsh chemicals. That being said, always supervise your young children, even if the only chemical they walk around with is a wet wipe. The best way to teach your little ones is by example and as they are cleaning alongside you, it will make it more fun and safe for them, less stressful for you and you’ll get a lot accomplished in the process!

Remember, good habits start young. The earlier kids learn to contribute to the household maintenance, the easier it will be for you to maintain their involvement as they get older. Don’t get discouraged and remember that praise goes a lot farther than criticism!

What jobs do your young children do around your home? Share your ideas, what works, what didn’t and everything in between in our forum discussion!

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