Monthly Archives: November 2014

Using Household Tasks to Raise Responsible Kids

When kids help with household chores, the benefits are far greater than it might seem at first glance. In addition to learning the proper way to load the dishwasher or sort laundry, being given age-appropriate responsibilities around the house helps kids become more confident and self-assured adults. Here are some helpful tips parents can use to teach kids the importance of taking part in household duties.

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Make Them Non-Negotiable

Just like parents have to make sure that tasks like grocery shopping, meal preparation and other chores are done, kids of all ages should have a few non-negotiable tasks they must accomplish each week. Even though the actual chores assigned to each child may only take minutes per day, these tasks help teach kids life skills, such as time management, responsibility and accountability, which in turn make them better able to succeed with larger obligations, later in their lives.

Parents can assist kids with this by insisting that the assigned chores are completed before voluntary or recreational activities are allowed. Create a calendar or chart that lists the daily assignments, and teach kids to check it daily and mark off tasks as they are completed.

Many parents choose to hold scheduled chore times such as thirty minutes after dinner or one hour on Saturday morning when the whole family works together to complete necessary household and lawn care tasks.

Make Sure Chores are Age & Skill Appropriate

While kids should never be tasked with chores beyond their physical or mental capabilities, most kids enjoy being given greater responsibilities as their skill levels increase. Here is a list of kid chores by there age group to get you started:

  • Toddlers through age 4: This age group loves to follow older siblings and parents around and imitate their actions. Folding washcloths, wiping surfaces and picking up toys are great first chores for this age group.
  • Ages 5 through 7: Motor skills and agility are more developed in this group, making them well-suited at matching socks, folding towels and t-shirts, making their beds and doing simple cooking chores, such as stirring cookie dough, washing vegetables and making sandwiches.
  • Ages 8 through 10: This group is excited to learn and becoming more responsible. Good task options for them include loading and unloading the dishwasher, pet care, weeding the garden or flower beds, setting the table and more advanced cooking skills such as peeling carrots and potatoes and assembling salads.
  • Ages 10 through 12: This group has a more developed maturity level and better problem solving skills as well more physical strength. They are well suited for vacuuming, operating the dishwasher, washer and dryer and taking out trash and putting away groceries.
  • Teenagers: These soon-to-be adults have the skills and maturity to handle many of the same daily household responsibilities as their parents, such as cooking, lawn care, cleaning bathrooms, washing floors and changing sheets.
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Green Cleaning Tips for Granite and Quartz Counter Tops

When you begin making an effort to use more environmentally friendly and “green” cleaning methods in your home, there are still a number of important things that you need to keep in mind. Not only are green techniques safer for the environment and ultimately easier on your wallet, they can also be just as useful as traditional methods. The thing that you have to take into consideration, however, has to do with exactly what it is that you’re cleaning. If you’ve got granite counter tops in your kitchen or bathroom, for example, you can’t just use any old cleaning product. Using the wrong product at best will not get your counter tops as clean as they need to be and, at worst, could severely and irreparably damage them.

Cleaning The Kitchen

Due to its antimicrobial properties, one of the best options to use for cleaning granite and quartz counter tops, especially food preparation areas, is a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. This is the same type of hydrogen peroxide that you can buy at any grocery store or drug store for commonly disinfecting wounds. Spritz the counters and let sit for a few moments in order to help sanitize the surfaces, as well as loosen up dirt and grime. Use use a clean, dry cloth to wipe up the hydrogen peroxide and get those counters looking as good as new again.

Another great green cleaning method that you can use to clean your granite or quartz counter tops is vinegar. For general cleaning purposes, white vinegar is the way to go. If this staple item isn’t already in your pantry or kitchen cupboard, you can easily purchase a bottle or jug on your next shopping trip the grocery store.

Finally, baking soda is a great way to naturally cut through grease, stuck on food or harder stains that may be on your counter tops that other green cleaning methods are not abrasive enough to overcome. In combination with the vinegar, use a microfiber cloth to eliminate the gunk and leave your granite or quartz counter tops sparkling.

If you already clean with these natural ingredients, but want to give your arms a rest, hire an eco-friendly cleaning company to professionally rid your home of dust and dirt without the use of harmful toxins. 

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Reduce Your Holiday Waste

The gift giving and celebrations that accompany the holiday season bring lasting memories with family and friends. However, the overflowing trashcan that follows these holiday events points to the extreme wastefulness of the season. While it is hard to cut out all consumables during the holidays, there are ways that you can dramatically reduce holiday waste and minimize your impact on the environment.

Shopping Bags CartoonReuse Shopping Bags

Shopping bag laden shoppers are one of the most iconic images of the holidays. However, many don’t stop to consider what happens to all those shopping bags once they get home. Many people only purchase one or two items at each store and end up with 10 or more bags. Instead of filling up the landfill with all those bags, take reusable bags along on your shopping trips. Not only do they help you eliminate waste, they are stronger and sturdier than traditional paper and plastic bags.

Reduce the Gas Guzzling

As shoppers hit the road in search of the perfect gifts, they should keep in mind the cost of transportation. Carefully plan out trips to pick up items together instead of making many separate trips. The fewer shopping trips you take, the better you are treating the environment and the more you save in gas and time.

Paper, Paper Everywhere

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons and Christmas cards are alluring, but they are also costly and unnecessary. Instead of spending money on decorative wrapping, consider reusing other paper products to make cards and wrapping, such as newspaper, paper shopping bags and extra craft paper. Those who prefer to purchase paper products should choose 100% post-consumer recycled material. Better yet, skip the paper cards altogether and send loved ones an electronic greeting card instead.

E-Savings

Electronic gadgets are always a top holiday gift but there are ways to make these a little greener too. When giving gifts that require batteries, include rechargeable batteries along with a charger. In addition, switch to LED holiday lights, which use less energy than their older counterparts. Lastly, turn lights off during the day to reduce energy consumption.

Reconsider Gift Giving

Finally, carefully consider the types of gifts you give this year and where they come from. Try to avoid or reduce giving material items. Instead, opt for gifts such as a day of pampering at a spa or sessions to a yoga studio.

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