I found that keeping kids occupied and keeping my house organized goes hand in hand. I also find that an important part of being in a family is having a team mentality.
We work as a team, everyone is a part of clean up and keeping our house organized.
This routine was started last summer and has proven to be a life saver!
Each child has one job they are required to do after every meal, so 3 times a day! They do the selected job on a weekly rotation. We are at the point where there is no chart, there are no orders from me. It is simply the order we established last summer, everyone knows what needs done and when it needs done.
Job #1 is clearing table and counters, wiping them down and making sure they are clutter free. (This is the second to most dreaded job)
Job #2 is sweeping the floor. (This is a favorite job) Right now the dishwasher is broken so #2 is drying dishes. (which is loathed!)
Job #3 is dishwasher, unless like right now, the dishwasher is broken. So right now Job #3 is WASHING DISHES! (When dishwasher is working then big pots and pans are mom's job)
Job #4 is doing one load of laundry. One load must go in, which means one is going into dryer and one is coming out of dryer and needs folded. Yes, we do 3 loads of laundry every.single.day! This has proven to be my life saver. There are never piles of laundry waiting for folding, except in my room. (I fold the youngest one's laundry in addition to my own.)
Several things I found helpful in establishing this schedule...
I started off with a chart and gave rewards for those who worked quickly and without complaining. That was the key to getting into routine.
My kids really like being a part of the team and I make sure to thank them often for their efficient help! Appreciation is key!
It keeps my house so much neater and there is no arguing over whose turn it is and who has more work. It also keeps the complaining to a minimal, because they just know its expected.
There are times when I do need to set the timer because some of my helpers tend to dilly dally. Some kiddoes need to do their job a second week on the rotation because they need more practice to get it done properly.
I tend to go into the kitchen after all clean up is done and do the finishing touches, especially evenings after the kids are in bed!