Saturday, July 18, 2015

Wendy's Whole House Pick Up

We have a very busy life here at Contentment Acres. We have nine people with many interests and hobbies. Sometimes our den and dining room are filled with Legos, My Little Pony, circuit boards, computers, fabric and sewing machines, small engines under repairs, modeling clay, etc...all at the same time! The house can get messy fast! 

Many years ago, I started the "whole house pick up." When I noticed the house was getting messy, I'd call for everyone of a certain age* to help tidy the house. We'd spend 10 to 30 minutes putting the house back together. When you multiply 15 minutes by nine people, a lot can be accomplished in a short amount of time. There are days when I call for a pick up after every meal and others where I only implement it around 8 p.m. Then there are those Mondays where we start the day off with one!

At what age did my children start helping pick up after themselves? I've always figured that if they are old enough to walk and take toys out of the toy box, they are able to learn under loving instruction and grace to put toys back into the toy box. A three to four year old can help put things in the correct room, "Take these socks to my room and place them on my bed. I will put them in the dresser later." If Mom keeps her attitude right, putting the toys away can be as much fun as taking them out. 

If you teach your children that housework is a time for music, playfulness, and togetherness, it becomes something you do together. Storming around the house in a bad mood because you don't want to clean teaches them to dread it. Every minute you are with your children, you are teaching them either intentionally with purpose or unintentionally without direction.   

Remember you are given the task of home keeping because you have a HOME. Being physically able to clean it is another blessing. Having healthy children who are able to make a mess is another blessing. Having possessions that get used and scattered around is another. Please don't treat your God given blessings as a curse!

To keep it fun, I tickle my children, play "attack of the mommy monster," or spray water from the kitchen sink sprayer (Hey, the floor needs to be mopped anyway!), swat them on the butt with the broom as they walk past and play innocent when they look at me, or whatever makes them laugh! My efforts in instilling a good work ethic have paid off. 

My adult children are frequently praised  and have been rewarded for being hard working employees. My middle children are highly regarded by a neighbor, who says they worked better at 12 and 14, than his 17 year old nephew. He hires them to work for him and says they always exceed his expectations. My little girls are 6 and just turned 8. They are able to clean their own room and help with household chores. Emily can cook eggs for herself and Hannah and for our dogs. At this stage of life, if I am doing something, my children come over and give me a hand on their own. Sometimes, they take over!

This doesn't mean the house is always clean, because we don't serve the house. God gave the house to serve our needs as we work to serve Him.