Winter Cleaning: Fun Ways to Get Your Kids Involved

child sweepingIt’s fast approaching Christmas and it’s also time for that dreaded big winter clean-up. There’s no getting
away from it; every season seems to bring about a quarterly review of the household, and that could also mean that you have a big clean to do, every three months. The question is: are you resigned to this job to undertake yourself? Maybe it’s time to put your cunning to the test and rope the whole
family in on this winter’s clean. And here some basic tips on how to do it without creating more chaos.

The best way to do things is to try your best to make them fun. This is no easy task – brain surgery might actually be easier in most cases (we all know that tidying is rarely fun), so you’ll have to think outside of the box, and tailor the fun and potential rewards to you would-be team of cleaners.

You need to do a quick inventory of what the job will actually involve. Here’s a quick checklist to aid your initial task:

Are you utilizing storage and cupboard space well?
Is the house full of clutter?
As a household, are we guilty of hoarding?
What are our plans over the winter period?

You might be able to guess what I’m about to say, but here goes: clutter is the route of all messy households. There’s a distinct possibility that Christmas will create allot more need for extra storage space. That means out with the unused to make space for the new. Your old clothes and items would make someone very happy so give as much as you can to your local charity shop.

Now it’s time to lure them in.  It’s important to appeal to your children’s – and spouse’s – sensibilities. Bribery might work but ensure that this doesn’t involve anything that will cost you money. Make sure that everyone is free and get your plan underway. Like most things in life, tasks are much easier if you make the people involved feel like they have some ownership of the task. Give your little one’s elaborate titles, and put them in charge of their own rooms. Entertain the idea that they need to make space for potential new toys, and that giving older, unused toys would help other children out this Christmas.

A sweet and treat allowance could be suggested, but ultimately approved by them. A larger treat for the end of the task might be an idea as it gives them a goal to work towards. Put their favourite music on to keep their spirits high and a few breaks to keep the energy levels up; remember – you’ll also need a rest-bite here and there.

Most of all – try to enjoy the process. A chore is only a chore if it is done in a negative way. After the big tidy comes the best part: decorating the tree. Hopefully you won’t have started this until you’ve had the big clean-up!

Getting everyone involved will help to speed up the process, and in a strange way, have fun with the whole family. I wish you luck in your task ahead.

Biography Paragraph:  Whatever way you clean you can utilize some professional help with your local man and van service. They offer a range of services as well as their man and van service, like storage for items you want to keep but don’t have enough space, maintenance and repairs, and many more. Some jobs are better left to the professionals to ensure they are done safely and efficiently.







Making Chores Easier For Yourself and the Kids

child sweepingWhether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom housework is never easy and it gets compounded when the kids do not want to cooperate by doing their part. And even when you give a chore to your child you find yourself going behind them to keep them going. I finally found a way that works at our house and it has made it a lot easier on everyone.


My daughter is seven years older than my son and so therefore she tends to get most of the work. This cannot be helped in many instances because of her age but it is not just her age but her congeniality that comes in play. My son can make a ten minute job take an hour because he fights it for fifty minutes. It drives me crazy and everyone else as well. And usually someone ends up doing it for him which is just awful because it upsets the family and does him absolutely no good at all towards his future as an adult.


My daughter and I came up with a plan that really encourages us all to do chores. Instead of giving out a list of chores to each child and then give them a time frame when it had to be done, we have a chore-a-thon. We decided to write down all the chores that had to be done on pieces of paper and throw them into a bucket. We make sure there is an even number of chores so that each person can draw the same amount. We take turns drawing our chores out of the hat. Since my son is younger we decided that if he pulled a chore that is too hard for his age we would swap out one of ours. We also decided ahead of time that if someone just absolutely hated the chore they pulled they could trade if someone was willing to trade with them. Since I am the mom I would usually be accommodating since I completely understand hating parts of housework.


We only do this on Saturdays since I am a working mom; we have set chores during the week such as setting the table, clearing the table, emptying or loading the dishwasher, etc. Of course keeping their rooms clean is their job as well. I am talking about chores like sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, dusting, cleaning pets’ cages, etc. I know how I feel about spending my whole Saturday doing chores and I know how I felt as a kid doing chores on Saturday as well. My mom used to drive me crazy because she would give us one chore at a time and tell us to come back when we were done and she would let us know what to do next. I wanted all my chores on a list so that I could get them done! At this rate you could be coming back to mom all day long! It was always a bone of contention in our house and I decided not to do it that way.


This has been an encouragement to all of us because we are all pitching in to get the work done all at the same time. There is something about working together as a team that just seems to help when doing chores. We all set out to do our chores working around the house side by side and we know when we are done with our chores, we are done. Now, having said that I need to add an addendum, this has helped my son to do his chores more readily but he is still a putterer. When my daughter and I get done with our chores we come along side of him and encourage him to get finished because there is always a reward involved. Did I forget to mention that part?


I always have loved rewards myself and my daughter loves rewards and even though rewards do not always have the same affect on my son it does help. So before we begin our chores we always decide on something special we are going to do when we are done. It does not have to be expensive or elaborate; it can be something like going to get ice cream, going to the park, taking a bike ride, going to the movies or renting a movie and having snacks with the movie. Whatever reward we come up with as a group we get to do when we are done with our chores. I know what some of you are thinking, that children do not need to be rewarded for doing what they are supposed to do. Heck, I need a reward and I am an adult!


Now the everyday chores such as keeping your rooms clean, picking up your clothes, helping with dinner, taking out the trash, and the like we do not reward with special treats. They do however get an allowance which they will not get if they do not keep up with those chores on a regular basis. We have included doing their homework into this equation also because my son the procrastinator and putterer can take doing homework and bring it to a whole other level of aggravation. When my daughter was young we would go through her backpack and sort out homework and get it all organized and in order and she would do it so easily. As she got older she took the responsibility on herself and actually told me she did not need my help but would show me her finished homework when done. My son on the other hand concerns us greatly and quite frankly has us pulling out our hair at times in frustration.


So we have made a homework time, the same time each day, which is when I get home and am making dinner. The kids sit at the table together and do their homework. My daughter being so much older is able to help him with his homework. She is always done before him unless she has a special project (which I allow her to work on in the privacy of her own room so she can actually concentrate). She then concentrates on helping her brother, along with me, and dad strolls in about this time and joins in. Who would have thought it would take three people to help one small child? And it is not that he cannot do the work, it is mostly because he is sliding down in his chair whining about his work for the first half an hour before he even looks at it. Then he doodles on the edges and complains some more. None of us can figure out why someone would want to waste all that time complaining, sliding down the chair, whining, and fussing when it is only ten minutes of work. We are hopeful that someday this will all change and he can function on his own. We are not sure however because he tells us quite regularly that he does not have to know how to spell his name or read or do math because he is going to be a professional fisherman. We ask him how he is going to get to the lake or ocean without being able to read to get his drivers license. He will hitchhike. How will you eat? He will stand on the side of the road and hold a sign and get his money and go to Jack in the Box for a chicken sandwich for a dollar. Heaven help us.


There is no perfect blueprint to making a family work in harmony all the time but these are some of the ways we have handled it at our house. Doing things together as a family has helped us quite a bit. Lifting each other up, encouraging and supporting each other daily is the key for making a more unified and joyful family.


Author Byline:

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.






Keep Your Kids Warm and Safe During Cold Weather

It is the worst snowstorm of the winter, temperatures are hovering near zero, the wind chill is at 14, winds are blasting arctic air at 40 miles per hour. To top things off, your kids are running through the house chanting alternatively: “It’s snoooooowing,” and “We want to go out!”

The temptation to let them go is attractive, but as a parent, their chances of doing so are DOA.

While temperatures are tricky, the wind chill factor is a good way to measure if and how long the kids can go out.

Winter Fun

Photo by Flickr user chefranden

Wind chill readings of 30 and above means that it’s okay for the kids to go out, but check how long. Each person’s tolerance to cold is different, and hypothermia can attack quickly.

When the wind chill is between 20 and 30, it is cold but still okay for them to go out. When they are out in higher and less threatening wind chill readings, check on them often. You may want them to come in every 45 minutes or so to warm up a bit. While they are inside, check them and be sure that hands and feet are not abnormally cold, toddlers are not fussing without cause and nobody is shivering. If any of them exhibits these signs, you ought to keep them inside.

Should the wind chill number go below twenty, it is best to keep them in. Unprotected skin can get frostbite quickly, and hypothermia is more likely to occur as well.

Following are more tips for keeping your kids warm and safe in foul winter weather.

  • Dress children in layers. Layers keep moisture off their skin. Make sure to remove wet layers so your kid remains dry and warm.
  • Outerwear should repel moisture, fleece, wool and other fabrics that protect from moisture. Cotton is a poor choice because it acts like a wick for moisture.
  • Kids are not completely dressed for winter outdoors if they are not wearing a hat.
  • Cover all extremities. The nose, ears, hands and feet must be covered to protect against frostbite.
  • Kids who wear contact lenses are at risk of their eyes drying out from the wind and cold. A combination of rewetting drops and sunglasses from Vision Direct will help to keep your child’s eyes from drying out in winter.
  • Have the children come in for breaks and inspection.
  • Once inside, remove all wet clothing. If they are going back out, only give them dry clothing.

Since the two greatest dangers for children outside in winter are hypothermia and frostbite, parents need to know the symptoms of each.


  • Children are shivering
  • Skin has a pallor
  • Extremities are bluish in color and cold to the touch

If these are there only symptoms, giving your child warm and dry shelter should take care of it. But, if they are slurring their speech or are drowsy or confused put them in warm dry clothes, wrap them in a blanket and call 911.

Frost Bite

Frostbite is as if the cold burned the skin. Symptoms of frostbite include:

  • Gray or white skin
  • Blistering
  • Skin that feels as if it’s burning or numb

If you suspect your child has frostbite, immerse the affected body part in warm — but not hot — water. Do not rub the area. A warm drink is helpful in getting your child warmer. Call for medical attention.


Margaret Reynolds

Margaret divides her time being a stay-at-home mom and momreneur who runs a retail online business.







6 Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy this Winter

With the winter months fast approaching, you may be dreading the thought of being trapped inside. Those cold temperatures make going outside seem unthinkable, making everyone – including you – go stir crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice if the warm weather lasted all year long?

However, just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean that your children are any less active. In fact, it seems to make them even more active. When the Mercury drops and there is snow in the forecast, don’t run and hide under your bed because your kids are climbing up the walls; there are plenty of activities that you can do with them during the winter, helping burn off pent-up energy.


Go Outside

You read that right – go outside! Cold temperatures don’t mean that the kids can’t go outside. Bundle up and explore the wonders of winter. While the beach may not be an option, your children can still enjoy riding their bikes, climbing trees, and drawing with sidewalk chalk. And, if it snows out, all the more fun will be had!

During those snowy days, get out there and roll around in all of that white stuff. Build forts, have a snowball fight, build a snowman, make snow angels – all those things you loved to do in the snow when you were a kid are things your kids will enjoy, too.


Photo courtesy of ShutterStock

Indoor Play Places

Take your kids to an indoor place place. With bounce houses, climbing structures, and ball pits. your kids will easily burn off all their pent-up energy. After a few hours, they may even be ready for a nap when you’re all done!


Children’s Museums

Provide a fun learning opportunity by taking your kids to a children’s museum. These museums are designed specifically for kids and offer some pretty cool exhibits that will spark their curiosity and teach them a thing or two. By looking online, you can do some research ahead of time and choose exhibits that you know your kids will enjoy.


The Library

Have you ever looked into your local library? It is an absolutely wonderful resource for children. No matter where you live, your library is bound to have a children’s play place and likely offers planned activities for your children, such as story hour, visits from musicians, crafting sessions, and playgroups.


Indoor Fun

If the weather outside is just too frightful, staying home is always an option. There are plenty of things your kids can do to keep entertained. Try building a fort with couch cushions or a tent with blankets and chairs. Pop a big bowl of popcorn, make some ice cream sundaes, and watch a family movie together. Get a family game going – you can play a board game or you can make up a game on your own. Make some crafts or bring them in the kitchen to do some baking. There are tons of things to do inside that you and the kids will love.


Photo courtesy of ShutterStock

Have a Play Date

Have a good, old-fashioned play date. Invite a few of your child’s friends over (and their moms to keep you sane and help monitor) and let them just have fun being kids. Don’t worry about the mess. Messes can be cleaned up, what matters is that your children are having fun.

Enjoy these activities with your children to keep them active and enjoy some quality bonding time together. With these types of activities in mind, the winter months don’t sound so bad after all. And, before you know it, the spring and summer will be here again!



Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. She enjoys coming up with fun kids activities that are a little bit outside of the box. She contributes to the Candy Concepts Inc. blog.