October 1st, 2013 - Category: Chores
Wouldn’t you like to be able to clean your house in half the time or less?
Let’s ask the pro’s how they do it.
One cleaning company can send a team of three into a four bedroom house and have the entire home clean in under 45 minutes. WOW!
We asked someone who has been cleaning houses for 25 years, Jeremy Pitowski, owner of Clean In A Jiffy, what his secrets were for cleaning a house…fast.
Here are some if his tried-and-true rules.
1. Only pass over once. Carry all your tools and supplies with you, or have them within reach, so that you can work your way around the room – once. No backtracking. Except for vacuuming or mopping, clean around the room, in one direction, everything in your path, and cut out repeated unnecessary steps in the process. This one change in your cleaning habits can cut your time by up to 30%. Hint: Keep a small bag for garbage with you as well, that way little debris can be quickly eliminated instead of walking back and forth to the garbage can in the kitchen.
2. Clean from top to bottom. The premise here…gravity. Example, Clean the counters before you mop the floor. Or, as you wipe, crumbs will fall off the counter onto your newly cleaned floor. Hence, you’ll have to clean the floor twice.
3. Use the right tools and cleaners. Yes, just like any other job, housecleaning has it’s own set of tools. (Not your fingernails!) And using the right tools is imperative to getting the job done right and fast.
4. If what you are doing isn’t working, switch to a heavier duty cleaner or tool. Instead of using more muscle and time to work a stain out of the carpet, up your game with a stronger cleaning solution and see results faster and with less sweat.
5. If it isn’t dirty, don’t clean it. Instead of wiping the entire surface of the fridge, quickly wipe away the smudges and finger prints and then move on. Don’t waste time by wiping the entire surface.
6. Pay attention. Be mindful of what you are doing. Keep track of your time and try to get faster. Notice unnecessary steps and eliminate them. Stay on task. Work smarter – not harder.
7. Use both hands. It does sound kind of silly, but the examples are endless. Spray with one hand while the other wipes, clean with one hand while the other stabilizes an object, scrub with one hand and wipe-up with the other. Double the work in the same amount of time.
Maybe you can adapt a few of these rules into your cleaning routine and discover on your own how they can bring you more satisfaction as you streamline and become more efficient at your daily chores.
You may be interested in reading this related article as well. Cleaning From Top to Bottom and Other Cleaning Tips
September 4th, 2013 - Category: Chores
Do your kids face chores kicking and screaming? Never fear! There are ways to make chores, well, less of a chore.
Don’t delay. Kids are never too young to start learning the benefits of chores. And they are probably more capable than you think. Sometimes we hold back because we think they need to be ready first. Well, they have to start somewhere and kids learn by doing. Make sure that their assigned chores are age appropriate and start today.
Don’t be inconsistent. If your kids aren’t expected to follow through on their chores regularly then they’ll never get them done. They will just expect some else to do them for them. Instead, set timelines and consequences and follow through yourself. In the beginning they will test the waters to see what they can get away with. But stick with it and soon it will become easier for all involved.
Don’t require perfection. No one is perfect and one aspect of doing chores is to learn. Relax a little and use this as bonding time. And, no matter how strong the urge is to step in and do it for them…resist it! Doing (or redoing) their chores undermines the whole point.
Don’t hold back praise. You don’t have to wait for them to finish their chores to tell them “good job”. Be your child’s cheerleader from the start. Shower them with praise and encouragement all along the way. Build a positive connection between praise and chores. And if you have one of those kids that thrives on praise, but you find it hard to find something to praise them for, when you do find something, use it over and over. Tell them all day what a great job they did making their bed. Tell Dad (in front of them) what a great job they did making their bed when he gets home. You can even bring it up again weeks later. Praise what you can, over and over.
And when you feel alone in your quest to have peace and a clean house, remember that you’re not alone. There are so many of us out there that are having the same challenges you are. Our goal is to raise responsible, capable children and that happens one chore at a time.
January 29th, 2013 - Category: Chores
Are you constantly nagging your kids to finish their chores? Excuse me, reminding your kids to do their chores? And then when they do their chores, they are either so slow at it, or so terrible at it, that you wonder why you even try? Let’s look at chores from a kids point of view to see if we can solve the problem.
Chores are Boring
When was the last time you were excited about folding the laundry, or emptying out the dishwasher? Even as adults, we can agree that chores are boring.
There Is No Satisfaction in Doing Chores
Even if there is a slight hint of satisfaction at a job well done when the floor is mopped and clean, the idea of having dinner in another hour and food being spilled all over it is quite a damper. Chores never seem to say done. It always has to be washed again, made again, folded again, put up again, or cleaned again. Hard to find the satisfaction in that.
There are Other Fun Things To Do
If it’s a choice between video games or riding bikes, your child may ask, “With who?” But if you give them a choice of dusting the blinds or football at the part, they’re on their way already. Of course there are things that are more fun than yucky, dirty, chores that their parents make them do.
As much as we would like our kids to do chores for the sake of duty or responsibility, that just isn’t realistic. Kids do not see the big picture and they don’t have the same moral structure as adults do. They aren’t going to be able to look at a job, realize that it’s for the good of the family if the house gets vacuumed before lunch, and not only vacuum the living room but the den as well, just because company might come over.
So how do you tip the scales and have them do their chores even though they are boring, repetitive, and there are many thing that they would rather be doing instead? You pay them!
As adults we don’t like to work for free either. If you reward your child for doing their chores, you have a much greater chance that the chores will get done. And not just done, but done well, and in the time frame specified.
MyJobChart.com makes it easy to reward your children for doing their chores. Each job has appointed points and points can be redeemed as you specify. Make chores rewarding and you’ll see them getting done.
November 28th, 2012 - Category: Chores
In today’s society it seems that kids have lots of clothes, lots of expensive gadgets, lots of friends, and lots of fun, but not a lot of chores. In the past, chores were a part of every child’s life. Are chores just not as important as they used to be?
Just the opposite. Now, more than ever, children need to do chores (even when they don’t feel like it). Today’s culture is eroding good work ethic and replacing it with lazy people. Let’s look at some of the benefits of having your child do chores.
1. Chores build their self-esteem. Doing chores teaches children responsibility and respect. It gives them a chance to feel important because they are contributing regularly. They can work hard and look back at the job they have completed and feel a sense of accomplishment.
2. Chores give them a good work ethic. Helping out around the house will teach them the importance of a job well done. In our instant gratification world, children need to learn that some things take work, before you can be satisfied with the results.
3. Chores teach them the value of keeping things clean and organized. If they know they will have to wipe off the bathroom countertop, then they will probably think twice before walking away and leaving a blob of toothpaste in the sink.
4. Chores help develop a sense of family unity. Everyone is part of the family so everyone gets to help. No one is above anyone else, because everyone has to do them. Chores set a pattern of helping others. They have to clean up messes that they didn’t necessarily make themselves.
5. Chores aid in learning basic housekeeping skills. We all want our children to grow into contributing members of our society when they are adults. Learning the basic skills of housekeeping while they are young, will set them on the right path.
6. Chores balance the family workload. Too often mom is overburdened and overworked because of the lack of help from other family members with housework. Down time is needed for fun interaction and relationship building opportunities.
MyJobChart.com can help you as you teach your children the importance of chores. With our interactive website, kids are excited and encouraged to do their chores. Set up your child’s chores and manage them with a click of the mouse. Give them an advantage of a lifetime by letting them help with chores.
October 16th, 2012 - Category: Chores
Did your Mom ever say, “Don’t play in the mud!”
Well, Saddie, a friend of mine, and mother of 9 kids, lives by that rule. She says that not making a mess in the first place is her number one tip for keeping her house clean. Of course there is a time and a place for everything and messes happen when you are trying to raise 9 kids. So here are some more of her tips, not just for cleaning, but keeping your house clean.
She calls it cleaning as you go. She is always picking something up as she walks through a room and putting it in the right place. With meal preparation, rinse out bowls as you go. Her favorite time to clean out the car (a 12 passenger van in her case) is when she’s picking up kids and has to wait for a few minutes.
Take it off where you put it up. This may sound silly, but she swears by it. If she has a daughter bring her a pair of earrings, she has them put them back on until they are upstairs and can put them in the earring holder as soon as they take them off. Same idea for shoes. How many moms find themselves picking up shoes all day long? If you don’t take off your shoes until you are at your closet or wherever you keep your shoes, then you don’t have to pick them up, you just take them off, and put them away. Jackets and dirty clothes, same idea. Take them off where you put them up.
Do it where you put it away. This principle doesn’t just apply to clothing but to the things you do. We cook in the kitchen and eat at the table. This keeps the mess contained and everything we need to clean it up is close at hand. Outside toys stay outside. Bedroom books stay in the bedroom. Up-stair toys stay up-stairs. Hair stuff stays in the bathroom, etc.
Have you ever swept the floor and then wiped the table only to drop more mess on the floor. Cleaning top to bottom, literally, will take care of that. Clean higher things like the counters, then the table, then the chairs, then the floor. That way if something falls while cleaning it doesn’t undo all of your work.
Which brings us to don’t clean or pick up anything twice. Some mess may accidently fall on the floor when you are wiping the table, but don’t throw it down on purpose only to have to sweep it up again. Instead catch it in your hand, or a napkin, and throw it away the first time. Don’t pick up a toy from the floor and place it on the counter where you have to pick it up again later and then put it in the correct bin. If you pick it up once, put it where it belongs.
Nothing is harder and less desirable to clean then dried on, caked on mess. Instead, clean up spills when they are fresh. They are easier to clean, and then the mess doesn’t get tracked through the rest of the house.
Organize, label, organize, label. The more bins and containers, the better, if you ask Saddie. And I’ve never seen more labels than in her pantry. Her toy bins have pictures on them for the little ones that can’t read. She laid out the toys that would be going in the bin and took a picture of them and then taped it to the outside of the bind. She has found that no matter how organized you are, no one else in the house will know what you expect, unless you label it.
And her philosophy on help: Everyone makes the mess, so everyone can help clean the mess. She loves MyJobChart.com because she can assign and track everyone’s chores in one place. They only have 2 computers so she didn’t think that everyone would be able to keep track of their chores conveniently, but with various pods, pads, phones, and notebooks, that can also link to the internet, everyone has ample opportunities to track their chores.
Don’t let cleaning bog you and your family down. Sign up for MyJobChart.com and start getting things done. And we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any cleaning tips or advise.
September 11th, 2012 - Category: Chores
Here at MyJobChart.com we are always asked at what age you should start giving your children chores, and what chores are appropriate for what age groups. Today we’ll be discussing chores for toddlers.
Children of all ages can help with chores, and starting them off young ensures that they will grow up with the right attitude and willingness to help out. Some children develop faster than others, but, in general, they follow a pattern of growth.
Some characteristics of a toddler may be:
Very Active – They like to jump, walk, and run even though they are still uncoordinated.
Gets tired quickly - Cries easily and gets irritable when tired.
Short Attention Span – Likes repetition. Cannot reason very well. Is curious.
Enjoys Pretending - Likes stories and musical activities.
Is self-centered – Has difficulty sharing.
Wants to please adults – Needs their approval, love, and praise. Wants to be close to adults for security.
When assigning a toddler chores you should keep the above characteristics in mind. Your expectations should also be age appropriate. Sometimes, parts of chores or modified chores are more realistic. Turning chores into a game or singing a song while doing your chores helps sometimes too. Here are some examples.
Get Dressed – If you are concerned about them matching, maybe you could set out 2 or 3 different outfits for them to choose from.
Brush Your Teeth
Make Your Bed – This is easier if the sheets or bedspread are tucked under the mattress at the bottom so all they have to do is pull the blankets up.
Pick Up Toys – Don’t expect them to sort and put things in different places, but they can put all the legos in the bin or all the books on the shelf. Be specific.
Put Up Laundry – If their laundry is folded and sorted they can put the piles in their drawers. They may even be able to help fold the dish towels.
Dust – They can wipe down the coffee table and other surfaces that are their size. If you are worried about solvents and soaps, just have them use a rag with water or a wet sock on their hand.
Wipe Sink - They can’t clean the whole bathroom, but with a stool they can wipe out the sink while you are cleaning out the bathtub.
Glass Door Cleaner – They can wipe the bottom half of the glass sliding door while you do the top half. Again putting a sock on their hand may be easier for them than holding a towel.
Human Vacuum Cleaner – Have your little one crawl around and see what little treasures they can find. If you have more than one kid, have them put their “piles” on the table and the one with the biggest pile gets a prize.
Mommy’s Helper/ Daddy’s Helper – Whether it is getting mommy a diaper or putting something in the garbage for Daddy, ask for their assistance and then refer to it as the named chore.
In the end, when having your toddler do chores, don’t expect perfection. Sometimes there will be a bigger mess when they are done than when they started. But lessons will be learned and even if it takes more time now, the consistency of having them help around the house with chores will pay off in the end.
And lastly, If you want them to keep doing their chores, remember to praise them during and after for a job well done.
October 12th, 2011 - Category: Chores
As you know by now, MyJobChart.com was created as a convenience tool for frustrated parents. Little did we know there were psychological benefits to such a system. For our blog post today, we are excited to share some advice/thoughts from Pediatric Psychologist, Dr. Lynne Kenney.
Dr. Lynne Kenney is a mom of two, a pediatric psychologist and author of The Family Coach Method. She is also a great supporter of MyJobChart.com. You can learn more about Dr. Kenney at www.lynnekenney.com.
Here is what she wrote for us:
If each morning you hear yourself saying, “I said, brush your teeth,” or “I said, make your bed,” consider the value of clear expectations.
Instead of making a battle out of it, consider your approach. Are you clear in what you expect? Have you clarified if the expected action is a personal or family contribution? Do you assert your expectations modeling peace not anger? Are you enhancing family relationships over asserting control?
Teach your children the value of contributions early on by teaching daily routines, tasks and chores. Be clear, be concrete and be consistent.
Teach, model and expect peacefully and calmly, your expectations, posture and tone will guide the outcome.
STEP #1 Identify Daily Routines For Your Children
Helping your children to identify the components of their daily routine is one step toward practicing independence and responsibility.
“We use task lists to keep the children focused on their brief responsibilities each morning,” says Diana from Chicago.
Developing independence takes 1) Knowing the expectation 2) Having the skills to exhibit the expected behavior and 3) Being recognized for the success in order to increase the likelihood of exhibiting the behavior next time.
Establish a daily task routine. Make play dates, sports and family fun dependent on their accomplishing specific tasks. It’s very simple, you give to the family and the family gives back.
STEP #2 Assign Daily and Weekly Chores
Chores are separate from personal tasks (part of a daily routine) as they are done for the good of the community. Chores teach children the value of living in a group, a community, a family.
I look at chores as valued family contributions. When you live in a home where everyone contributes it is a clean, happy well-run home that is enjoyed by all.
Chores are a part of making expected contributions to the household. Children do not earn money for doing what is expected. They are expected to be a productive part of the family, their tasks are a piece of that, just as listening respectfully and being kind are expected.
Susan from Milwaukee offers this advice, “At our house, the kids are expected to help the “family community” for which they do not get paid money. Just as I make their breakfast or dinner and do their laundry, they have ways in which they contribute to the community. Making their bed, wiping the sink after they brush their teeth, setting the dinner table, and clearing their plates from the table are typical every day expectations.”
Jane from Scottsdale agrees. “We have “chores” listed on our fridge, the kids do some each day and some weekly. If we have a big project or something outside the chore list we need done we might offer $2-$5 for that extra activity mostly to support the children’s piggy banks.
“On Saturday there is a pretty good chance that our preschool and school-age children will help out, as they can earn valuable spending money for their participation. This money goes to things they care about like horseback riding, going to the water park and having movie night at home. Without hard work there are no horses and there are no trips to the mall, that’s just the way it is,” Jane says confidently.
STEP #3 Model Your Values
If you are going to give allowance for everyday household tasks, make sure you establish a specific amount, be consistent in giving it out each week and make sure the children complete the tasks assigned to earn allowance.
It is important to also suggest that children do not need to “consume” everything they like. Children can enjoy things in a store and leave them in a store. Life is not about accumulating stuff it’s about caring for people.
Kim from Boston offers some clear advice, “When we go to the store, I do not agree to buy the kids small toys or objects that they can purchase with their allowance. We have a ten dollar per week maximum of allowance earned and they can use that to buy the newest Polly Pocket or Lego toy.”
“Further, they are encouraged to put one dollar in savings and one dollar in our “community jar” to give away at the holidays to families in need. If every child contributes, they often have more than one hundred dollars to give away at the holidays, which teaches them to be compassionate as well as generous. They learn the value of hard work early with a spend, save, and donate system,” asserts Kim.
Consider delineating what are expected family contributions in your home. Create a morning and evening task list for each child. Keep it simple with (3-8) discrete tasks. If you wish to help your children learn about money management, develop a chore list, assign fees, and encourage your children to spend, save and give. Teach your children the value of contributing to the family in the early years.
If you haven’t tried it yet, MyJobChart.com is a great way to manage the tasks and responsibilities of your family members. And the best part is – it’s free!
August 30th, 2011 - Category: Chores
If your kids are like, well, any other kids in the world, one of their favorite phrases is, “That’s not fair.” And no matter how many times you explain that life is not fair, they will continue to use that phrase as a legitimate argument.
This is very true of doing chores. If you’ve ever had a chore chart before, you understand what I am talking about. One of your children may feel as if they have to clean the bathrooms more often than anyone else. Another child may complain that they have twice the number of chores assigned to them. And still, another child may feel that their chores take longer to complete.
You will never be able to create the perfect chore chart where everyone is happy. (Mostly because kids aren’t real excited about helping with chores.) But maybe there are a few things you can do to make life at your house just a little more “fair”. We’re not going to guarantee that these work, but they’re just some ideas we came up with after working with our own children.
Try to avoid the gender-based chores. If you have a ten-year-old son, then he probably gets assigned the chore of mowing the lawn, right? That’s understandable. Boys tend to be stronger physically than girls. But making boys do “boy chores” and girls do “girl chores” will hardly help your children feel better about their work load. Besides, at some point, both your boys and your girls will be living on their own. They need the experience of being able to do both kinds of chores.
Switch it up. No one wants to do the same chores over and over and over again. As adults, is something we have to deal with. But if vacuuming is easier for your child than doing the laundry, give them a chance to vacuum. As you divide chores among your children, come up with some backup plans, or ways to keep the chores rotating. One additional benefit to switching things up is the change in who is whining. If kid 1 cries about life being unfair today, at least he’ll be on to something new next week.
Divide the tough stuff. How often do we say we’re going to clean out the garage or the attic one day? Those are some difficult chores to tackle. They could take hours, even days to complete. If you have those kinds of chores to be completed, don’t take them on yourself. Your kids can help. But you need to carefully describe what each child should be doing. Otherwise, one person will be completing more work than another and come to you complaining. Divide large chores into smaller chunks and then let the children get started.
Reward greater effort with greater rewards. No amount of parenting is going to make all your children equally reliable or hard working. So try to reward the chores that take the most time with an additional benefit. Also, create a system where you can give extra rewards to children who do an exceptionally fine job on their work.
Let your children see you working. No, you don’t have to add your name to the chore chart (although that’s not a bad idea). But if you work alongside your children, they will be less likely to complain about their own workload. They need to see you working with them to create a clean, pleasant home to work in. It creates a bond between you and your children so they can feel like part of a team instead of like slaves.
Dividing up the chore chart properly is an important part of maintaining your home and your family. Take the time to really evaluate what each child in your family is expected to complete and decide whether they are being treated “fairly” or being sufficiently compensated.
If you don’t have a chore chart that works for you, then you really need to check out MyJobChart.com.
August 9th, 2011 - Category: Chores
As a kid, your parents almost certainly assigned you chores. But…as we are somewhat older now, and technology back then was limited, your chores were probably written on a sheet of paper and taped to the fridge. If you’re a little bit younger than some of us, you may have used the chore chart form that came complete with stickers blank spaces for extra chores to be filled in.
Now, you’ve got your children on some sort of chore system. If you didn’t, you probably would have never found this blog post.
But here is our question to you today – are children the only ones who need a chore chart? Or would you still benefit from putting one together for yourself? Here are a few reasons chore charts are still a great idea whether you’re 10 or 40:
-You can stay more organized. If you’re like many adults, you have a to-do list. But what are you writing on that to-do list? Clean the house? How many different chores are involved in cleaning the house? Or working in the yard? A chore chart would certainly help you decide what things in the house need to be cleaned or what work in the yard needs to be done.
-You can plan ahead. In addition to knowing what needs to be done now, you can plan chores for the future. For example, washing windows or wiping down the baseboards are once-in-a-great-while kind of chores. But they need to be done occasionally. Planning ahead will not only keep your house spotless, but it will make your future plans easier to figure out.
-You can track the work you do. As adults who own our own homes, we have a vested interest in completing our “chores”. But that doesn’t mean it’s easier for us than it is for our children. However, if we track our progress (and even reward ourselves for the work we do) we’ll be much more inclined to get things done.
-You can assign chores more effectively. If there are two adults in the home, dividing up the chores can be rather painful. One adult may feel as though they are primarily managing the workload. A chore chart is a great way to split up the responsibility and make sure both adults are doing their fair share of the work.
Maintaining a home, yard and other personal belongings takes a lot of work. Which is part of the reason getting your children to help with chores makes so much difference in a family. But the same principles that work in keeping your children organized and staying on task can be used for adults.
July 27th, 2011 - Category: Chores
Recently, an eight-year-old girl returned from her summer vacations. That’s right, vacations. She spent a month with one set of grandparents. Immediately following that trip, she joined her other set of grandparents for two weeks. Then, her parents took their turn by vacationing in California for a week.
Never during those vacations was this girl expected to complete any chores. All laundry, cleaning, meals, and other activities were done for her.
Keep that story in mind as I share an interesting development at one Arizona school district. This particular school has extended the school year from 180 days to 200 days a year. In just one year, the results have been astonishing. Academic achievement has increased as much as 20%. In other words, extra work has led to extra development.
As a parent, you know how important it is for your children to learn the value of work. Unfortunately, vacations, sports, social events and life can get in the way.
Are you doing enough to instill a strong work ethic in your children? Are the chores you expect your children to complete enough to really provide value? By adding just 20 days to a school year, children were able to significantly increase test scores. A little extra effort and looked at what happened academically. What would happen in your family if you were to add a chore or two your chore charts? And, by contrast, what do you think would happen if you were to remove 20 school days. Or…remove chores from your child’s chore chart?
Do you allow vacation time or other interruptions make children exempt from completing chores and being responsible? Whether you’re camping in Yellowstone or riding roller coasters in Disneyland, you can still give your children a chance to work. Even if you’re staying in a hotel, have your children fold their clothes every day. Straighten up the room. Let them clean up their own plates after eating.
The point is…don’t let your child off the hook. No matter what comes up in your life, you can find ways to help your children complete chores or adopt extra responsibility. Giving your children a day off is perfectly fine. But the longer they go without doing anything beneficial, the harder it’s going to be to get back into doing chores. Similarly, if you don’t challenge your children enough, they will be reluctant to work harder when the time comes.
In most situations, extra work brings extra rewards.
Ready to try some extra chores? Be sure to check out MyJobChart.com if you haven’t already.