Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breakfast Mayhem - More Messiness!

Let me just say that when you decide to let your kids get messy one week they certainly don't let you down.  Yesterday morning Elsa pulled off a fantastically 2-year-old stunt of independence.  She poured the milk for her cereal herself!  I can hear your gasp now.  Yet I didn't get upset I simply grabbed my phone and started snapping a few pictures...

Do you see the large puddles of milk?
Well Thaddeus, still in his high chair couldn't let his sister out do him in the messiness department and wiped off all of his cereal onto the floor...

Really I think he was hoping that with the milk on the floor if he added the cereal I'd let him down so he could eat off of the floor...he is smart/sneaky like that.  I did get him down but only so he could clean up...yes I had my 15 month old baby cleaning up after himself...and he loved it!

Elsa ran and grabbed a towel and started cleaning up the floor first...

Then the milk on the table started to drip onto the floor so I redirected her cleaning efforts while Vinny started sweeping. 

I don't have a picture of Thaddeus picking up the apricots he threw on the floor since I had to help boost his morale into doing the work (read in clapping and loud words of praise for each apricot slice put into the garbage). 

Once the floor was swept and the table cleaned of milk.  I put a little soap on a wet washcloth for the table and got the mop out for Thaddeus.

Soon this is what the table and floor looked like...

Honestly I don't think it took any longer for the kids to clean up the mess then it would have if I did it all myself.  The reason I say this is if I had done the whole clean up I would have had to battle the kids getting in the way which makes more work.  So teaching them to clean really doesn't take much more of my time, if any, and the kids walk away with a life long skill more valuable than if I had done the work myself.

While I did help with SOME of the cleaning, the majority of it was done by the kids.  Vinny is 4, Elsa 2 and Thaddeus 15 months each with varying degrees of ability.  Thaddeus was more than capable of picking up apricot slices and placing them in a grocery bag and pushing around a mop with a little assistance.  Elsa easily cleaned up all of the milk from the floor and table and Vinny did the sweeping.  All I had to do was give guidance, supply soapy washcloths, and sweep the pile into the dustpan that Vinny held.  Not bad if you ask me.

I hope you're finding my X-Large pictures of real life to be inspiring, honest and encouraging.  All too often we fall prey to the lie that teaching our kids to clean takes longer than it does to clean it ourselves, but the truth is all that is needed is to lower our expectations a bit and go with the flow.  Children love to help out so use that to your advantage!


Well I was brave and showed you the honest pictures of my kitchen after breakfast, now is your turn to be honest and share with me.  Tell me what you need to overcome to be able to let your children learn how to care for the house?  Is there a topic on cleaning you'd like to discuss?  Or maybe you'd like more hints on teaching life skills to your kids?  Just leave a Friendly Thought and share in what we know and what we'd like to know more of.


  1. Totally overwhelmed right now...I look at these and think...I could never do pains me to admit that I have such silly, and pointed control issues (No judgement on you by the by...only my praise, for you are doing that which I wish I were brave and patient enough to do). I have recently allowed the kids to help wash windows, wipe tables, etc....but to take on their independence so fully, and to try and instruct the cleaning process calmly and patiently...this seems an insurmountable task. It has occurred to me in the last few months that I have almost no patience...certainly not enough to hold my temper in place while my children create noise and more mess in their first attempts at cleaning. Even the thought of relinquishing my control/lead in the clean up process fills me with dread/frustration/impatience. I know I need to get over it, but I only want to do a thing one time, not 3-10...I want to wipe the table and have it done, sweep and not need to do it again until the end of the next meal...etc. I know in limiting my childrens "help" I am limiting their ability to learn a skill, and limiting myself from having their help (real help) sooner than later...but I can't seem to keep that perspective long enough to actually succeed.

  2. Well it isn't easy to let the kids help clean up, however I have never been a neat freak and it is pretty easy for me to relinquish control...I'm a super delgator! Remember Nellie that I didn't get to this point in accepting their independence overnight, it is something that the Lord has been working on for a while. Plus, when you have five kids you really do need them to be much more self-sufficient because I just can't do it all, all the time. Just take each day on its own and maybe right now all you need to give up is the tables and the windows and that is all right. When I'm really struggling with the whole perfect clean house syndrome I remember that if my kids are doing it I'm not...and that part of me doing one less thing makes the imperfections livable.


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