When there’s a place for everything and everyone knows that place it is easier for anyone in the family to have a good idea to find it. It means that we’re not waiting for one person to find the socks or only one person knows where things are. It’s a burden lifted. It’s actually a joy to hear the boys going to each other first to try and solve the problem. We’re working together as family.
It helps that their contributions are rotated. One of them is likely to have done it before so knows the supplies, the general idea of what to do and is good to help and support.
This type of responsibility is very needed in our households as we learn to share how to do things, then how to do things well and finally how to do things consistently well. It’s the essence of a peaceful family home to ability to work together when we see the need and before we see the need.
In every family, there are regular things that need replacing. For example, like toilet rolls, empty ketchup bottles, socks with holes in, things that need refilling and things that are finished.
Some kids use lots of toilet paper so need help with that. Others are quick to get a new roll even when there’s lots of paper left on the end of a roll. Some just don’t know how to take off the old roll and replace it. If you find yourself constantly changing the empty toilet roll then #1 in this series might just be the solution.
Child friendly and within reach
Cleaning supplies are all together in one place in the utility room and each bathroom has a set of cleaning products. The cleaning supplies belong to the bathroom and not to the person. It’s not my cupboard, for example where I keep all MY supplies. It’s the cupboard under the sink where the supplies are kept. #3 where does it live.
4 When it’s gone- follow through
But what happens when the cleaning solution is finished? There has to be a system for telling so it’s replaced. This is an area we fall down on. I have one son who is really good at letting me know that the ketchup bottle or the maple syrup is almost up but I can see those. It helps if your contribution is a refilling task as you can quickly see that your refills are almost empty or gone.
We’re trying to instil the idea that if you’re using something and it’s almost running out or empty- tell someone! Now we can get a refill or put it on the list for next time.
Some of the cleaning items are homemade in our family, like the foaming soap, window cleaner and floor wash. This has helped from when the boys were young that I’m happy for them to be squirt happy cleaning the family table and the bathroom mirrors without worrying about the strong fumes and product getting on them.
I have all the bottles in one place. Instead of just refilling out of sight, I try to ask one of the boys to help me make up the solution when the bottle is getting low.
We get all the ingredients and fill up the foaming soap. So they know where it comes from. It doesn’t magically appear. There’s time to ask questions and talk about each part. A little science experimenting often happens too.
We mix up the recipe below. The best way we’ve found is to add the water first just below the line on the bottle, then add all the extras. But that’s not fun! So we usually add the ingredients first and slowly add the water to the line, trying to see if we can do it without getting foam everywhere… Ah a bit of science fun and mess. Just what the boys love! Besides soapy fun is an easy clean up over a sink! 🙂
Foaming soap recipe
Squirt of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap about 2 tablespoons ( adjust as needed for your water soft/hardness)
1 Tbsp of avocado oil ( for softness)
5 -10 drops of tea tree oil
4-5 drops of orange or grapefruit essential oil
1-2 drops of spearmint oil
Fill the empty soap dispenser with half the water.
Add your fillings; the soap, oil and essential oil(s).
Fill up the rest of the dispenser with water to the line.
Secure the lid over the sink so it’s firmly in place.
Tip the bottle gently up and down. You will see the ingredients, especially the avocado oil separate. Don’t worry. Tip up and down before use.
There are so many things we can just get on and do quickly as parents in our home. We rob the children of learning to care for their home when we do it all and it’s just always there done. There’s an opportunity missed to work with them to refill and make up a solution that we all use. Time spent together doing something fun practical and useful that contributes not just to them but to the whole family. Eventually, they’ll start refilling themselves.