Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
You might also enjoy this Free Online Chore Chart for kids!
We recently have been working at getting our son Logan, 5, to consistently do more chores around our place. And while he has been doing most of these things since he was 4, there are a couple that we only added more recently. However, they are all things that he could have easily done at age 4 as well. I figured that if you are like me, you are always looking for inspiration and ideas when it comes to parenting. And so, in the hope that someone else might be inspired, I thought that I’d share our current list of the 10 chores we are having him do.
But first of all, a few tips:
* Don’t expect your child to understand how to do something without being shown how to do it. Take the time to explain what you expect and also to show them exactly what you want done.
* Be patient. They are going to mess up when they are learning and will probably need reminding of how to do their jobs well as they go along too. It’s good for me to remind myself that our son is only five- I can’t expect him to do things as well as an adult!
* Praise your child liberally. Even if the job wasn’t done perfectly but you can tell they were doing their best, shower them with encouragement. I find that the more I thank our son for doing his job well, the better of a job he seems to do. Funny how that works!
Now on to the list of chores:
1. Make bed
While our son can’t do this perfectly, I’m amazed at how good of a job he can do! At any rate, when he’s done with it, it looks so much better than a totally unmade bed. And with practice, he’s actually learned to get the quilt spread out nice and evenly.
2. Set the table
When Logan was learning to set the table we didn’t stress putting each piece of silverware correctly since it was pretty confusing for him. But as he got used to his job, it became required that he put each piece in it’s proper place. He also typically puts on the water, any condiments we need, serving spoons etc.
Because I wasn’t thrilled about having our dishes getting broken all the time, we decided to skip the pottery and instead go with melamine dinnerware that looks like pottery but is pretty much unbreakable. Even so, we’ve had a few glasses and other things get broken along the way. If you want to teach your children to help, it’s really important to remember that this is just part of the learning process. (I’m reminding myself here too!) And if you do have pottery, I’d suggest having your child just take one or two plates to the table at a time to help minimize breakage.
3. Clear the table
It is our 5 yr. old’s responsibility to totally clear the table of everything, not just the dishes. Instead of just letting things on the kitchen counter, he is also expected to put away all that he can, which most times is everything but the leftover hot food.
4. Empty the dishwasher
When Logan first started doing this, he was allowed to remove only one glass out at a time. Otherwise, he would get careless, crash them together and well, you can imagine the results! As he learned to be more careful, he became capable of taking out two glasses without any catastrophes. We also have found it helpful to have a designated spot where he puts the few things that he is not tall enough to put away. Just a quick note, if you put sharp knives in your dishwasher be sure to remove them before your child gets started!
5. Move laundry from washer to dryer
To save money, I don’t use our dryer a lot. But when I do, I often get Logan to move the laundry from the washer over to the dryer. It’s actually one of his favorite chores! If I am going to hang laundry out instead of using the dryer I simply have him unload it into my laundry basket instead.
6. Fold washcloths, rags, underwear and socks
I typically separate these things out from the other laundry and give them to our son to fold. He can get a little careless with folding the washcloths especially, so we’ve been really working on folding them neatly and evenly. I think it’s important that children learn to do their jobs well!
7. Put laundry away
It is our 5 yr. old’s job to put his laundry and his sister’s laundry away. (She’s too little to help at this point!) He also takes our laundry and puts it on our bed and often will do the same with the bathroom towels and washcloths since they are located too high for him to reach.
We have a fairly large vacuum but our son can still pretty easily handle it. Obviously, he does not sweep as thoroughly as I would, but it sure helps keep the house cleaner if I have him vacuum a couple of times a week!
9. Clean up toys
This is something that Logan has been doing for a couple of years. I usually like to have him do it before dinner and then he also cleans up before bedtime too. And sometimes if the mess is getting to me throughout the day I’ll help him do it another time too. He likes to hurry and try to get the job done, so we’re constantly working at doing it neatly and putting things away nicely instead of just throwing everything haphazardly in the toy box. (We have various containers that smaller toys go into to help keep it more organized.)
10. Empty trash
While our kitchen trash is still too bulky for our son to handle, the smaller trash cans scattered around the house are very easy for him to empty.
What chores do you have your 4 and 5 year olds do? What have you found challenging when it comes to chore time?
Linking up at Clean and Scentsible.
Image source for picture in post banner: Shutterstock
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Thursday, June 6th, 2013
It’s that time of year again when you can clean house and make money on the stuff you no longer want and need. Aren’t yard sales great?
If you’re planning to have one, be sure to read the 5 tips that have guaranteed us successful yard sales for the last six years.
This is a simple no-brainer for bringing in more customers. Make sure to do this at the beginning of the week at least if not earlier.
- Post your ad for free on Craigslist or Yardsalesearch. Or if you are willing to pay a bit you can also place an ad in your local classifieds.
- Include your full address, not just Hillside Development, Brownstown. What if I don’t know where that is? If people have your full address they can get directions online right to your place.
- List any unique items or items that may be of interest. For example: Lots of books, baby clothes, baby furniture, plus-sized ladies clothing, tea cup collection and more.
- Don’t forget to post the hours and date(s) of your yard sale.
2. Show them Signs
A sign screaming YARD SALE will catch people’s attention and attract interest even days before you have the sale. Keep it simple, neat and attractive. The point is to catch people’s attention not distract them. Attaching a couple of balloons makes it easy to spot..
- Post the sign several days in advance.
- Place it where it is very visible and be sure to make it big enough that it is readable from the road.
- One of my friend’s likes to put up a different sign the actual day of the yard sale. It simply says, Yard Sale Today. That way if you are having a two day yard sale people don’t assume by the second day that all the good stuff is gone. Not a bad idea I think.
- Another option is to post a flyer at your local grocery store, laundromat, garage etc.
3. Price things low to go
I really dislike yard sales that just have stuff sitting out with no price. I like to know what something costs without having to search out the person in charge to ask them. In fact I often pass up things just because I don’t feel like going to the bother of asking the seller. I am pretty sure that I am not alone in this either from hearing others talk. Yes, pricing takes a bit of time but I promise it will sell things for you too.
- Lay aside all sentimentalism. Remember, even if that fuchsia and orange flower arrangement is special to you because your great aunt Henrietta gave it as a housewarming gift when you bought your first home, it doesn’t mean that I will think it is worth $5. Think how your customers will think. Ask yourself, “How much would I be willing to pay at a yard sale for this?”
- If you really want to get rid of things, keep the price super low. Lots of 10, 25, and 50 cent items appeal to people. At my one yard sale I even priced some things 5 cents that I was sure no one would want. Guess what? They were some of the first items to sell!
- If something is new or is electronic and works well, write that on the tag. But remember, you can’t expect to sell it at the price you paid. This is a yard sale after all!
- Be willing to take a lower offer on an item. Remember the goal is to get rid of stuff. Better to make a dollar less on than to not make any money at all!
4. Organize your merchandise
I can’t believe how many yard sales I have been to that don’t do this simple, easy step. No one enjoys looking over tables full of a hodge-podge of items or digging through boxes piled full of who knows what. I am much more likely to browse and spend more time looking at items if they are organized.
- Put like things together such as all dishes, all home decor items, all electronics.
- If you can’t lay books, CD’s, and DVD’s out nicely on a table then put them in boxes- but don’t make the box so full that you can’t flip through the items easily. If you have a lot of books, it is nice to also put all children’s books in one box, all fiction in another, all non-fiction in another and so on.
- Hang as many clothes as you can. An easy way to do this is to get to step-ladders and put another regular ladder through the two of them, creating a nice hanging spot.
- Organize baby and children’s clothes by size. No one likes digging through a bunch of unorganized clothes. If you have both boys and girls clothes of the same size, make a separate spot for each one. I like to put them either on a table or in a box with a clearly marked sign with the size and gender written on it.
- Place bigger items on the ground propped up against trees or table legs BUT make sure that they are visible!
5. Greet your customers
You know how stores have someone greet you when you enter? Well apply this same principle to your yard sale. It makes people feel welcome and lets them know that you are open to talking to them about any questions they have about your items. A simple “hello” or “good morning” as they walk up is sufficient.
What have you found helps you have a successful yard sale? Or what makes you want to buy when you go to yard sales?
Image: via Shutterstock
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Monday, February 6th, 2012
Anyone else get tired of feeling like you are going to pass out from fumes when you use commercial bathroom cleaners? I hate that! And after our son was born I started really seriously looking into ways that I could avoid chemicals in our cleaning products. I found a homemade cleaner recipe that was basically water and vinegar and it worked okay but nothing great. So I was pretty excited when I came across a recipe for homemade bathroom cleaner that people were raving over. I made it last week, used it immediately and let me just say that there was a reason that people were raving!
Not only is this homemade cleaner cheap and easy to make it did an amazing job of making things clean. What impressed me the most is that the buildup on the caulking in our bathtub/shower that I could never get off wiped right off without really any effort. And so I am sold.
Caulking before using cleaner- this is all the cleaner I could ever get it.
Same spot- squeaky clean after using cleaner
So without further ado, here’s the recipe.
Homemade Bathroom Cleaner
12 ounces white vinegar
12 ounces liquid , blue dawn detergent (I used the pink)
1. Heat vinegar until hot and pour into spray bottle.
2. Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.
3. Use and be amazed at how well your bathroom gets cleaned! For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.
Update: I’ve learned that with this cleaner, unless your surface has bad scum build-up, you only need to lightly spray your surface. Then usually wiping twice with a damp cloth will wipe it clean. Because of the soap, if you get spray happy you will have a sudsy mess to try to wipe up and while your surface should be good and clean, you might get frustrated at the effort it takes to wipe it all up!
Thanks Coupon Cutting Mom for the recipe!
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Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
You know the old saying, “Time is money”? Well, a talk I heard last fall at the mom’s group I attend has really stuck with me. The speaker was talking about organization and how much time it saves. She gave an estimate of how much time is wasted daily per person just for looking for something that was misplaced etc. and if I remember correctly it was close 20 min. a day. Now that might not seem like much but when you think of it being over 2 hrs. a week or 9 hrs. a month it starts sounding a bit more frustrating and wasteful!
Anyway, I am not a super unorganized person, but at the same time I have a lot to learn in this area and have been trying hard to learn what I can! One of the things that I did several months ago that has helped save me time was organize my spice drawers.
I used to just have my spices in the drawer in any old order. One day I had this “ah-ha” moment when I thought, “Why don’t I alphabetize my spice?” So I took a couple of minutes and put them in alphabetical order and you know what? I love it! It has saved me so much time trying to figure out which bottle is basil. Is it in the first row or the last, left side or right? Now I know it is going to be right there at the beginning on the left hand side and presto, I can go right to it.
What organizational things have you done lately that have saved you time or made your life easier? I’d love if you told us about it!
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