Posted by Kimberly:
I don't know about you, but I tend to feel overwhelmed after the holidays. We come home after each Christmas with our families, and we have all of this new stuff that we have to find a place for. (We have a hard enough time finding a place for all the stuff that we already have!) So, it usually ends up sitting out for several days until I get motivated to find a home for everything.
Well, yesterday was the day I got motivated! I was determined not only to get the house picked up but to also get all of the Christmas decorations and tree down. (It helped knowing that my cousin and his family are coming over for New Year's Eve.) I had read in a magazine a week or two ago about a way to get your kids involved in cleaning up the house. Now, we believe in "child labor" at our house and expect our kids to make their beds, keep their stuff picked up, help dust and vacuum, etc. However, it is often difficult to get them to do it with "enthusiasm" and a good attitude. So, yesterday, I decided to give the idea a try with a few modifications.
Here's what I did....
I typed and printed a list of chores on the computer, such as "vacuum Blake's room", "straighten the girls' closet", "pick up and straighten the front living room", "unload the dryer and fold the towels", etc. I then cut them apart, folded them up, and placed them in a bucket. Next, I assembled the troops and explained the following rules:
1. They had to draw one chore at a time.
2. They were not allowed to put it back if they didn't like it. (The only exception to this rule was if Townley, who is 6, drew a vacuuming chore.)
3. The two older ones (age 10 and 8) had to help Townley read her tasks.
4. The task had to be completed thoroughly and efficiently. (They could not drag their feet in an attempt to have to do less work.)
5. If they drew "pick up the front living room", for example, and somebody else's stuff was in there, they had to put that person's stuff up too. If they didn't know where it went, then they had to go ask them. They were responsible for picking up everybody's stuff, not just their own.
6. When the task was completed, they had to put their initial or name on it and stick it in a pile.
7. They continued to draw new tasks until the bucket was empty.
8. After all tasks had been completed, I would take all of their pieces of paper and check to see that they had done each of their jobs to the best of their ability.
9. Whoever did all of their jobs thoroughly and efficiently would be rewarded with 30 minutes of computer time or time on my phone to play games. (This was a huge motivator to them because we do not have any gaming devices, and we limit their computer time. Each person will have to figure out what motivates their own kids.) We also went for a special snack in the afternoon.
Let me just say that this will be our new way of getting things done around here. The kids worked so hard and even thought it was fun! (We played their new Taylor Swift CD the whole time. Music always seems to make cleaning more "fun".) In fact, last night when I was tucking Blake in bed, he said, "Mom, that was kind of fun today." And, this morning, Townley commented, "Mommy, I think we should do what we did yesterday." Two of the best things about this, besides that my house was finally straight, was that 1.) I didn't have to stand over them the whole time telling them what to do next and 2.) They had to do things for each other. (Poor Emily got the worst job of all.... She had to straighten Blake's closet!)
Hopefully, this idea, or your own modified version of it, will help you get things under control at your own house with your kids' help.
Happy New Year!!
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