Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How do I get my husband to clean around the house? (4 ways to get him hooked)

Let's begin with true confessions here.  I don't like to clean, and it took some work for my wife to get me to clean.  And by clean, I mean by my own choice.  I've always helped out around the house, cleaning bathrooms and such, but by now you are all wondering what caused me to flip to the point where I wanted to clean.

I wasn't always this way, and many out there are asking this same question for their teens:  How do I get my teenager to clean the bathroom?  How do I get my husband to mop the floor?  How do I get my kids to wipe up in the bathroom?  I think I have the recipe to get them all 'in the mood' to clean... (it worked for me!!)

1.  Make it easy.  If the job is unappealing already (who wants to clean the sink/tub/floor?), if it seems in any way complicated, you've got a recipe for a hubby who is prone to run the other way.  Overwhelming him with multiple types of cleaners, methods, and specific tasks can be overwhelming.  Keeping the task simple will convince him that it's do-able, removing the intimidation factor.  Stick with a good microfiber cloth or two, and set him to work!  (He'll see the instant results.)

2.  Make it fast.  If the job is perceived to be a long and laborious one, it will be put off as a matter of priority, or as a lack of time.  If you demonstrate that cleaning the bathroom should take an hour, it will carry the connotation of being a monumental task.  Think of how clean your bathroom will stay if it gets a quick, yet thorough wipe each or every other day.  All it takes is 3-5 minutes to get things spotless and shiny.  Your children can have it as a part of their regular routine to grab the cloth and make sure things are wiped up when they are done.  The alternative is to offer them the huge task of a massive cleanup of two weeks of filth.  Yuck.  I'll take the quick wipe any day!!!

3.  Make it fun/ interesting.  As a family, crank the tunes, have a race or competition for cleanliness, or just rotate the jobs around.  A fun atmosphere rather than one that dwells on the negative ("Why don't  you clean the bathroom for once!!!") will invite your family into a celebration of clean.  Friends of ours put all of the tasks in a jar, and on Saturday morning, they all grabbed blindly from the jar to reveal their task.  If they didn't like the one they picked, they were able to trade with their brothers/ sisters / parents for one they preferred.  Anything to take out the mundane or drudgery.

4.  Make it rewarding.  Celebrate a clean house with a dessert, a snack, heaps of praise, or expressions of gratitude for their help.  Verbal praise is far more effective than any other form of compensation, and the knowledge that they did a good job provides motivation to do it again.  (Remember Pavlov?)

But what if they don't do a good enough job?  There are ways to increase your peace of mind.  Remember that this is a journey and they are on their way to effective cleaning slowly but surely.  Point out the ways in which they can 'up their game' next time without the judgement.  Providing an effective cleaning tool is also half the battle.  A man knows the value of a good tool versus a half-rate one.  (This was the ultimate tipping point for me!!)  Showing him the value and effectiveness of a great cloth compared to a cotton rag will enhance the 'geek' or 'cool tool' factor.  It will also have you sleeping better at night knowing that the bacteria, dirt, and griminess is locked and rinsed away.

Your kids are safe when you use a cleaning method using just water rather than the harsh chemicals.  Developing good cleaning habits at an early age will make sure that your kids won't be the adult that is needing some extra training in the house cleaning department!!!

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