My long-time readers know that every year I do a summer “project” with my children, but this year, instead of writing letters to pen pals, or keeping nature journals, or making scrapbooks, we’ve taken on a much bigger project.
We’re working on ourselves.
When I decided to reduce the amount of time I spent blogging, it was so that I could tend to what I considered to be areas of neglect in my life, and one of those areas was the training of my children. They’ve always had responsibilities in the home, but I’d become lax in policing them, and to be honest, I’d fallen into some bad habits myself. Too many days passed with unmade beds, unfolded laundry, and unopened mail. I’d allowed my housework routines, which had worked so well for me for so many years, to gradually slip away, because I spent too much time on my butt in front of the computer.
As my pastor reminded us on Father’s Day, it’s our responsibility to teach and train our children, and that requires time and effort. To that end, I decided that dwelling on our bad habits wasn’t the answer. Instead, because it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, I wanted to focus on creating some good ones, starting with daily bedmaking, because I think an unmade bed makes a room look very messy. To remind us of our goal, I posted this notice on the fridge, so everyone could keep track of their progress.
It’s amazing how well this has worked. My husband has even gotten into the bedmaking habit- today he made our bed by himself, with no prompting from me! Our habit for next month is putting dishes in the dishwasher as soon as we’re finished with them. I’m hoping this will prevent the pileup of 37 drinking glasses on my kitchen counter every day, all summer long.
I also posted these notices near the entry doors of each room, as a reminder to everyone that they need to clean up after themselves.
This works well even for little kids, because even if they can’t read, they can find what doesn’t belong. My husband loves this because he can just say to Cakes, “This room doesn’t match the picture. How come?” and she runs right in and picks up her clothes off the floor, or hangs up her towel. It’s so much nicer than yelling, “Were you kids born in a BARN?!” which was my old method of correcting them.
In addition, I made this, framed it, and hung it in our main entry hall:
Below it, I posted our family rules,
along with the children’s laminated, reusable chore charts, and I velcroed a washable marker to the wall so they can check off their chores as they complete them.
These changes have inspired all of us, not just the kids, to be diligent in doing our part for the common good, and our house shows it! It’s consistently cleaner, neater, and more orderly, and I spend less time griping and complaining to the kids about being slobs, and more time just enjoying them.
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