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I’ve been seeing this quote a lot lately and I love how this quote makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

But I also feel a little guilty about it.

It makes me feel funny when my house is all clean, because does that mean my kids aren’t happy?
There is one part of this quote that refers to allowing your children to get dirty which is super important, but they can also be part of getting themselves clean.
I agree with anyone or anything that takes guilt away from parents and that is all that this quote is meant to do, but we also need to be reminding ourselves how important it is that children learn about taking care of their things, which includes keeping the house in order.
This can start as early as the newborn stage, when the child can be strapped onto mama or papa while they clean.  The child will learn the sounds and motions of cleaning.  Very young children love to be part of what mama and papa are doing and they will enjoy the sounds and motions of cleaning.When my boys were just a couple of weeks old and they wouldn’t stop crying for anything.  I learned that they would stop immediately once I turned on the vacuum.    This won’t work for everyone, but the while noise was perfect for my boys.

Then as the child becomes a toddler, it is important that the parents clean in front of and with their children.
A lot of parents may save the laundry, dishes, vacuuming until 9pm, after the children have gone to bed so that it is easier.  But a child who never sees or helps with any of those chores, never learns about those simple but essential tasks.
I often think of children growing up on farms who are doing tasks all day long, and they are rarely seen as unhappy children.  They are known to be fastidious, hard-working and happy children.
It is also important for parents to have their down time and couple time after the children go to bed.
So how does this work?  When a chore needs to be done, the parent tells the child, “it is now time to wash the dishes (clean the clothes, clean the floor, etc).”  When the child is young, they can either choose to play by themselves or help the parents.  Of course, they will probably choose to cry because they would rather have their parent’s undivided attention, but it just takes a reminder or two as well as asking if they want to help, before they realize that taking care of the house is part of the routine. As they get older, the charm of helping will disappear and that is when chore charts will need to be implemented, but the earlier you start having your children help, the easier it will be to maintain that structure.
So tomorrow, resist the urge to clean before the children wake up, while they are gone or after they go to bed, involve them in the process!

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