Teaching Our Children to Clean

What does cleaning have to do with manners?  Well, it actually has a lot to do with manners. Gentlemen and ladies strive to show respect for all things.

Remember, the definition of manners or etiquette is helping those around you to feel valued and comfortable.  

So, when we keep our homes, our rooms, our cars clean, we show honor to those who live and visit these places and we create a place of comfort.  Have you ever been to someone’s home and you are afraid to put your purse on their floor or you’re afraid to place your coat anywhere?   Yes, I have. This makes for a very uncomfortable situation.

Today, I think many parents are missing the opportunity to have their children play a larger role in keeping their homes clean and tidy.  More importantly than this is the opportunities lost for children to experience pride and even joy in being able to care for things.

There is no reason that children cannot be taught to clean just as well as we clean.  

They just need to be taught and held accountable.  I always kind of grinned on the inside when my son would call for me to come and see what he had done when he finished cleaning his room, or the bathroom or when he had finished doing a special job.  He wanted me to inspect but more than anything, he was proud of what he had done and he wanted me to see it.

Parents, one of the ways to teach children how to show honor and respect for all the things that they have is to allow them to help take care of them.  

It is such a privilege to have a home, toys, a bed, etc.  Our children need to understand that these things took hard work by someone to acquire and to show our gratitude for the things we have been given, we properly take care of them.

We are missing out on great opportunities for our children when we fail to teach them how to properly clean and manage a home.  

Remember, we are supposed to be teaching our children how to be independent of us so that soon, they will be able to live without us and properly care for their own homes.  This doesn’t just happen but takes years of practice and years of being given more and more responsibility so that they can excel at these responsibilities.  Not too long ago I was speaking to my son on the phone as he was at college and asked him what he was doing.  He said, “I’m taking apart the stove to clean it.”  I thought, “Yay…he really was listening!”

Parents, teach them!  They can do it and believe it or not, it will add to their joy.

Why is it polite to clean up our own messes and how do we show respect to our parents by keeping our rooms clean and our possessions protected? Our "Cleaning Up" box from our Fundamentals4kids program covers this with books, games, crafts and so much more. Check out this wonderful tool today HERE.

Have a great day,

Monica Irvine

Accepting & Receiving Gifts Graciously

Hello Friends.  Happy Holidays to you all.  I hope this month is filled with precious memories of times past, hope for a better tomorrow and enjoyment in the moment.

Of course the holidays can be such a sad time for many as they are without precious loved ones which creates an increased measure of sadness during this time of year.

Ladies, gentlemen, may we each take many moments to quietly ponder who needs extra love this month?  

May we sit down with our families and pray and discuss what we can do to brighten someone’s door or day?

No, we cannot wipe away other’s pain, but we can do so much to let others know that we love them, we care for them and we have not forgotten them or their loved ones.

I would like to challenge everyone to use this time of year as we celebrate what is precious to us, to bring light to others.

I get many questions concerning gifts around this time of year…what is too expensive, when to buy and when not to buy, what if someone buys for me but I didn’t buy for them, etc.  May I suggest a few considerations to keep us focused on what’s important and enjoy the gift of giving and receiving.

Deciding to buy something for someone should simply come from the desire to give for the sake of giving.  

For instance, you walk through a store and you see something that just reminds you of someone and you think they would love it, that’s a great time to give.  We should never feel obligated to give to anyone.  I would never want anyone to buy something for me because they felt they should, would you?  Of course not.  We should each be so touched when someone has taken the time and thought to give us a gift, but we should never ever expect one.

If someone gives us a gift, but we have not reciprocated, instead of feeling guilty, just be grateful and show your gratitude in words and deed. I don’t give gifts to only those who I believe have gotten me a gift.  Surely none of us do.  The gift of giving comes from the heart and desire to give and should be received with pure joy.  

Remember, the greater joy comes in the act of giving, not receiving.  There is no need for apologies when we have not reciprocated, rather, just be grateful.

We should consider the amount we spend when choosing a gift.  It does create discomfort when someone spends a large amount on someone that they do not have an intimate relationship with. Make sure our gifts are more about the thought than the money.

Finally, if someone has asked us to please not buy for them or their children, please honor that request.  We can show love in many ways outside of gift giving like giving service, cooking dinner for others, spending time with others and simply meeting their needs.  Purchased gifts are only one small way to give to others.

Enjoy your holidays and make every day count.  Love each other.  Be kind.  Thus lies to key to happiness.

Happy Holidays!

Monica Irvine

Family Meetings…They Make All the Difference

Parents, I introduce you to the value in family meetings in raising ladies and gentlemen.  

Having a family meeting once per week can literally cut down on so much wasted time, help the family to be more united, give the family specific goals and create much needed family fun time. Let me explain.  

A family meeting should have an agenda and 
should be led by mom or dad to help everyone stay on track.  

A family meeting is not a time for mom and dad to bark out orders, complain about everyone’s previous week’s mishaps, or become a laundry list of “to-do’s.”  Instead, it should be a time where each family member feels like their voice is heard, their opinions matter and they are an essential part of the family unit.  

Here are some possible ideas for your family meeting agenda:

Go over the schedule for the upcoming week including doctor appointments, ball games, special occasions, birthdays, and any events that the whole family needs to be aware of.  
This helps ensure everyone is on the same page, that rides are coordinated and special occasions do not get forgotten.

Family Fun Times Ideas
Every family should have “fun time” put on their schedule every single week.  
Just like us adults usually have things each week that we are looking forward to, our children need this too.
Family fun does not have to cost money.  It can be a movie at home, playground time, library time, hide-n-go-seek in the dark time…it just needs to be on the schedule, so that everyone can look forward to it and mom and dad don’t forget about it.

Family meetings really help accomplish projects because it helps everyone prepare physically and emotionally for them.  
If everyone knows that they are going to clean out the garage on Saturday, mom and dad can make sure they have all the needed supplies and the kids can “gear up” emotionally for the fun.

One-on-One Time 
Children feel so important when they see their names on the calendar for special time with mom and dad.
Parents, we are trying to raise engaging, responsible, productive and capable children.  Help them to learn these skills by involving them in running the family.  

A family meeting is a great way to teach our children organizational skills that will benefit them for years to come both personally and professionally.

Have a great week.

Monica Irvine