Friday, July 8, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing: A Family Affair

As a Mom, I'm extra proud to write my post this week. Over at the Org Junkie, Laura posted about getting your kids involved in the organizing and cleaning process, and well, that is one thing we've done and done extra well!

My son is a helper. I don't know why, but from the time he started walking, he wanted to be involved with everything we do. And I don't think that this is unusual, but I think our approach towards his interest was. Initially, we started letting him help empty the dishwasher. He'd hand plates or silverware to us to put away. As he got taller, he'd do the silverware himself. It didn't (and still doesn't) always get put in the right bin in the drawer but his sense of pride and accomplishment made neither of us worry about the little details.


His curiosity grew and we fostered it. Want to wash clothes? Ok... Want to help vacuum and mop? Ok... Dust, making beds, changing sheets, cooking, baking and yard work can all be added to his resume. He cleans bathrooms, windows and mirrors.


We made the fortunate decision years ago to do away with all harsh cleaning chemicals and toxic yard care products so allowing him to help weed, cut the lawn (we use a reel mower) and dig dandelions was easy. The one modification we did make to our cleaning ritual was to give him a bottle of clean water to spray to clean the bathroom - although we used just vinegar and water, we quickly learned that anyone under two years will spray it in their eyes.


I've gotten a few comments and questions about allowing my son to cook and bake. Firstly, when I started back to work, he needed "Mommy time" when I got home each night. We'd play or cuddle for 10 minutes or so before we started to prepare the (preplanned) meal. And then, together, we started to cook.

Was it time consuming? For sure! Did he listen? Not always and we occasionally ended up with a few unexpected additions to our food but ask him now to get any ingredient and he knows where it is and what it looks like (this has really come in handy since he and his Dad have taken to baking while I'm at work)!


We've had muffins with nearly a full bottle of vanilla and cookies with an extra shake of baking soda. He loves to add spice and does so whenever he can. We've had flour everywhere and he's learned it's not wise to blow on the dry ingredients with your eyes open. More than a few eggs have ended up on the floor and there has only been a couple times were we've eaten egg shells. Cocoa is very sticky and it doesn't wipe well. Extra yeast just makes things puffier and guess how many holes you can poke in a pizza crust before Mommy gets mad? He slices and dices (but please, not the strawberries), stirs and measures. Although he has his own special knife (made and purchased specifically for little kids) he's moving up to small pairing knives because his just frustrates him because it doesn't cut like mine.


We've learned just how much water to put in a mop bucket of a two year old and as he's gotten older, he can have a regular full bucket because he knows he can't slop water everywhere. He vacuums like a machine and actually came home from our holidays, grabbed the duster and began dusting. He told us the house was 'very dusty'.


I've been asked if others can borrow him so they can teach their children (young and adult) - I love that he loves helping and I'm hoping that by involving him in the family matters that he'll learn to be organized in a way I am not!

I'm going to try the Scavenger Hunt Laura wrote about over at Organizing Your Way and see if we can't get into a regular tidy-up the toys routine!

This weekend I'm heading back into the Trenches and will be finishing one of my big tasks... Thanks for stopping by and remember to get your kids involved today to teach them good things for tomorrow!

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