How to start a family cleaning routineEveryone is busy. You’re especially busy if you have a family: you and/or your spouse works, your kids have school and then soccer practice and piano lessons and play dates and dinner needs to be cooked and groceries need to be bought and the dog must be walked and… There is a lot to be done everyday. It can be overwhelming to get it all done and also keep the house clean, especially when it all falls on you. That’s why we’ve put together these tips to help you create a family cleaning schedule to get everyone in your house to help clean and do chores.

Lay Out the Ground Rules

If your family isn’t used to having to chores, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. In order to kick off your family cleaning schedule, have a family meeting to discuss it. Let your family know that everyone is expected to participate in the cleaning of the house. Make sure that they understand that this is how it is, and there will be no complaining or avoiding it. Do this lovingly. Explain that everyone lives in the house and has a responsibility to the family. You aren’t trying to be mean by making your kids clean, you want them to help the family and learn how to care for themselves and their own future homes.

Assign Out Chores

Kids have a very different idea of what clean means. They might not notice the dishes on their nightstand or the pile of shoes in the corner of the living room. You can’t just tell kids to clean the house or it won’t get done, at least not satisfactorily. You have to make it very specific what needs to be done and who is responsible for it. Consider making a chore chart that clearly lists who is responsible for each chore and how often it needs to get down. You can make this a sticker chart, or laminate and use dry-erase markers to make it reusable. This will help everyone know what they need to do.

Be Sure to Get Everyone Involved

If you want your family cleaning schedule to work, you need to make sure that everyone in your family is involved. This includes the youngest ones. Obviously, infants can’t clean, but even toddlers can be assigned simple chores. This will help it feel more fair for everyone in your family and help your young children grow up knowing how to clean and work. Some appropriate chores for toddlers include picking up their toys and dirty clothes, moving clothes from the washer to the dryer (if you have a front loader they can reach), putting away silverware or other nonbreakable dishes, and more. As your children grow, you can add more responsibilities, but the important part is to start while they are young if you can.

Implement a Reward System

In your family meeting, discuss implementing a reward for completing chores. Many parents give out an allowance for chore completion, however many other parents feel like children shouldn’t need to be rewarded in order to help around the house. If that’s how you feel, a good compromise could be to not have assigned chores on Saturday. If all the chores are done by the weekend, then you can have some family time to do a fun activity. If chores aren’t done, then you have to catch up on Saturday. This teaches kids and consequences and encourages them to do chores, without tying rewards to a monetary reward.

Don’t Forget About Bigger Chores

Your chore charts will probably include the chores that need to get done daily or weekly. However, what about the bigger chores that are done less often? Pull out your calendar and schedule out when you will get the carpets cleaned (we can help with that!), clean the gutters, clear out the garage, and other tasks that aren’t frequent enough to include in your weekly chore charts. This way, you’ll make sure that everything gets done.