Friday, September 2, 2011

Cleaning the Bathroom - "Just Ducky"!

The best way to make cleaning fun, in my opinion, is to let someone else do it!!  Don't you agree??

Actually, I do like to clean.  Some times more than others.  I find that when my house is generally clean, I don't feel as behind and stressed out, and I don't mind cleaning.  When I've been busy and the laundry has piled up and the dishes need washed and the beds are all untidy, that's when I want to run screaming from my house never to return!

Having 4 children has taught me 4 things:
  1. Children make lots of messes  (are ya shocked??)
  2. Children get hungry about 43 times every day (which doesn't leave much time for anything else...)
  3. Children LOVE to do what mom is doing!!  
  4. Children CAN help and in helping children learn responsibility and a work ethic
Responsible parents teach children Responsibility!

You slept in your bed last night?  Make it!  You ate food at the table?  Better get that plate to the sink!  You took a bath?  Better put your dirty clothes and wet towel in the laundry basket!  After they mop all 30 gallons of water off the bathroom floor (using the towel they dried off with.)  You wore shoes today?  Better get them back to their space!  You spilled water on the carpet?  Don't tell me about it; get a towel and dry it up!

I don't make my children slaves.  I simply teach them to take care of themselves and their messes.  As soon as they started walking I'd hand them their dirty clothes and walk them to the hamper every night.  After every bath, I'd hand them their wet towel and tell them to put it in the hamper.  Before long, they were doing it on their own and proud of it!  We had a party every morning when the beds were made.  I always excepted their best as perfect.  (And then I ran back to fix a few things when they weren't looking.  I had a hard time with towels.  I wanted all of them facing the same direction and folded with corners together.  That doesn't happen when you have 5 year olds folding them.  But the fact that my 5 year olds do laundry is enough to keep me happy until they are gone and I can re-do things without offending them.)

My 2 oldest children are nearly 9 and 7.  They can do just about any job I can do - even canning.  They may not do it as well, but they know how!  I've also heard them "teaching" the younger 2 their "tricks of the trade".  They take great pride in what they do.  There are still times their "work" makes more for me.  But for the most part they are extremely helpful!   I tell them all the time "I don't know what I'd do without you!" and that's the truth!

The younger two are 5 and 4.  They are learning how to clean the bathroom, and fold laundry (and put it away neatly!).  The other day I was trying to clean and they kept insisting on helping, so I finally gave in.  It's hard not to give in when your 4 year old is begging you to let her "scrub something".  ;)

So, I got them a bucket and a couple of rags.  They used vinegar and baking soda and they had a blast!  Their job was to clean the bath tub and the bathroom floor. 

After about a half an hour, I went to inspect their work.  (Inspect what you expect, right?)  I informed them that cleaning the bathroom was NOT meant to be fun and that all fun was to cease immediately! 

To which, they shrieked with more laughter and squirted me with the backside of a rubber ducky!   

 Apparently, rubber duckies make cleaning fun.  And, squirting your mother with the back side of rubber ducky, well, that's even better! 

So, I went and got the timer.  The kids all know when the timer comes out the work begins!  I set it on 15 minuets and left the room with instructions that I was going to vacuum and I wanted the bath tub and the floor cleaned (and all the water mopped up)!

Guess what!  Our bathroom was clean by the end of 15 minuets!  I was really happy and so were my little guys!  The first thing out of their mouths when the older girls came home from school was:  "we cleaned the bathroom and there's nothing left for you to do!" 

Like they were going to be upset about it...!!  =)

Maybe someday I'll tell you how I "trained" them to mop the kitchen floor!  Lots of fun...but kinda noisy!

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 This post is linked up with:  Homemaker By Choice


  1. OH MY! I thought I was the only mother like this! So glad to read this one! I'm definitely reading it to the kids, so that they know I'm normal now :)

  2. LOL Normal is over-rated and certainly not any fun! =D

  3. We have always made it important for our kids to clean up after themselves! During the summer our older children start taking on more "big people" chores. Loading the washer and dryer, dishes, vaccuming, dusting, etc. Its so nice to have some help in those areas! They don't do it perfect but they love helping and the praise they get for a job well done. :) We used a chore chart and rewards for a while. Gotten out of the habit but probably need to bring it back! I totally understand the timer thing! Our kids go into OVERDRIVE when the timer comes out. :) Always a good motivator. ;)

  4. Love your post! It brings back memories from when we were foster parents. We spent a few years fostering children classified as "high behavior" and "troubled children." All of the children placed with us were hitters, kickers, and biters. Despite our crazy home and schedule at times, cleaning was every Saturday morning. We got everyone involved. And there was always fun to be had afterwards, if you did your chores:) This is how we established independence in the kids, but also it was family time together. Between parental visits, therapy, school and sports, this was our time together. Our motto was to work as a family, so we can play as a family. It was great seeing that the 5 year olds would catch onto chores quicker than the 7 year olds. The kids really liked the time together as a family. Our expectations was to do your best. We had many disagreements with a few social workers, which is why we no longer foster. The disagreements revolved around what we expected the children to do in our home. Social workers felt that expecting children between the ages of 5 to 13 to bring their laundry down and put it away afterwards, was too much. We heard the same story about doing dishes, and folding towels. I'm very grateful that we aren't the only parents whom like to teach our kids early. Thanks for sharing:)

  5. I think you're right to try to teach children to be responsible. If they don't learn now, they never will. That's why our country is in the shape it's in. No one wants to do for themselves because they don't know how...or were never trained to do so. I think our children will have it easier than everyone else in the long run. They know how to work hard and love life at the same time! ;)

  6. Great idea!! Just before Reading this, my girls (6 & 4) sat down and made a chart of chores so we can kep ourselves on track and accountable! Thx for encouraging me that they are able to do more than we expect!!

  7. Love it! I tire of hearing mothers say that children shouldn't be expected to do chores because they need to just "be children." Isn't it our jobs to teach them how to be adults one day? Chores and helping around the house is a definite part of that! AND it instills a great work ethic!