Cleaning a house while children are growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing. I've seen this quote attributed to both Erma Bombeck and Phyllis Diller, both great comedians in their own sense. But, shouldn't you at least try?
It continues to snow here in NW Ohio and many children are enjoying yet another snow day. "How", do you say, "am I supposed to keep my house show ready when there are toys and games everywhere?" A daunting challenge for sure.
One of the tools I've successfully used before is the Children's Contract. We need to take into account whether the children are old enough to understand that there is going to be a good change in their life, and how they are going to be allowed to be a part of the process.
I like the children to be present when their parents sign the listing agreement so they can see that their parents are invested and then I create one just for them.
It includes things like:
I will straighten my bed every morning and keep my big toys in just one room
I will help mom pick up my toys every night before bedtime or whenever she tells me we are getting "company"
I will wipe the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink and pick up my towel every day.
I like to put their name on it and let them add one task that they might suggest to personalize it and then let them "sign" it.
Each time I come to visit, I bring a small toy or special treat to reward them for their cooperation and help. Sometimes, mom adds a shiny star for a job well done (it still works).
It's not a perfect or fool proof solution by any means, but it's a good place to start.