Being homeschooling family means being followed (and clinged) by the kids. Kids doesn’t go to school, so there’s no free time away from the kids even for a second. So how do we managed to take care of the kids, house cleaning, laundry, cooking meals, dirty dishes, messy house and the house supplies without helper?
Probably it will be easier if we just send our kids to school and expect them to follow and cope with school lessons. We just need to set our expectation according to the school marks and focus to the expectation on clean and tidy house for every family member. But not with homeschooling family with no helper just like our family.
Fortunately, we start our family in Singapore, in which probably the cleanest city in Asia, so training Max to clean up is not so hard, because the examples are everywhere. The basic habits that we successfully plant on Max mostly on daily cleaning and hygiene: always throwing rubbish to the rubbish bin, washing hands before and after eating, washing hands and feet at face when we reached home from outside activities, put back the dish on the basin after eating, clean his feet and hands before we get into bed, cleaning up toys after playing, brush his teeth twice a day, put the laundry onto the laundry basket, put the shoes on its place, and many others simple habits that can make my house chores easier, especially living with all boys.
Tell and Show. This is important! Kids are smarter nowadays. Don’t expect them to pick up lessons without seeing samples from others, in this case the parents. At the beginning we trained Max to cleaning up (toys, personal hygiene, personal space) we sat and did all together, letting him feel the urges and the important of cleaning up. Slowly he’ll able to do his own cleaning up, and that’ll make our house chores lesser. Then soon enough we can take it to the next level, train kids to help us with the general house chores&routines.
Start T0 Train Early. There’s no such thing as too early to train kids to clean up. We started as early as when Max was 1 year old. Very slowly but sure, he’ll understand the important of cleaning up. Of course every kids are different, some may pick up very fast while some really take their own sweet time to finally get the habits and sense of clean and tidy house, which is actually the idea of training them for cleaning up. Luckily Max is the kind of person who can pick up routines very easily, so we were never had hard time trained him.
Be Consistent and Persistent. This will always be the magic words dealing with kids. The more consistent and persistent we as parents, the faster kids pick up the ideas.
Plan The Family Meals Weeks In Advance. I like to plan ahead for almost everything and family meals are important to keep the tummy happy, so that everyone can focus on their own task and duty. Planning meals in advance means we schedule and shop in advance. The hits meals for us will be chicken soup and steam rice/potato/sweet corn, always goes fo every seasons and moods. Lucky for me I have my own chef assistant who loves to help me at the kitchen: Minichef Max!
Get as much helps as you can get. Some family or friends visiting offer for babysit, parents or inlaws visiting offer to buy foods, laundry man offer to pick up and deliver laundry, even a quick massage on the back from spouse. All are useful helps, never refuse them.
Pick the easy maintenance furnishing. Cleaning and washing marathon can be frustrating sometimes. Invest on the right furnishing for you house that needs as low as possible maintenance. Believe me, you’re not only investing on your spending but also on your precious time.
It’s never greener on the other side. Every households are unique, each has its own values and problems too. So stop comparing with other’s family, because what you’ve seen on th surface not always reflects the inside.
Lower Down Your Expectation. We can say that this is our last resort, when everything has been done, but we feel nothing has happened, just lower down our expectation. Special time for cleaning, cooking and laundry are never our previlege. So just let the house be “a little bit” dirty and messy, that’s just what kids love. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the messiness for a while, take a deep breath and play outside! Laundry will never be finished and meals will never be enough, just like kids will never stop playing.