She's not doing ANYTHING.
I picked up MY fair share.
But I didn't MAKE the mess!
Why do we have to clean up EVERY day?
Can't we get a break?
Will you help us?
Do we get a reward?
I hate this.
I don't want to.
This isn't fair.
And on and on and on it goes until the job is finally done an hour later. Sometimes I wonder why I bother when I can do the same amount of picking up in 10 minutes or less. I know that it is important for the girls to learn responsibility for their things. I want them to be grateful and respectful of all they have. They are truly blessed and I want them to realize that.
I fail to accept that clean up time has to be a practice in patience for mom and a chance for the girls to practice their complaint, whining, and debate techniques. There has to be a better way.
In the spirit of The Olympics I thought a combination of thrill of the race, healthy competition, and a beat the buzzer type of system might just do the trick.
I give you:
The best part? It works! The girls have really gotten into it. No fights. The clean-up gets done. And it gets done quickly!
Each player must put away six items in their correct location and make it back to home base before sixty seconds ticks away. The first to return to home base is the winner with each additional finisher placing 2nd, 3rd, and so on. If a player doesn't make it back to base in 60 seconds they DQ for the round.
We play three to five rounds. At my house that breaks down like this:
(3 players x 6 items)5 rounds= 90 things put away in 5 minutes or less
We usually have the room clean in less than five rounds. You can set up the reward any way that you like. Each player gets a little something for pitching in and being a part of the team at my house (happy kids are more likely to play next time).
Because we have set bed time, giving the girls a few extra minutes of play time at the end of the day is motivation enough. But you can set up your rewards any way you wish. I will probably change up my rewards here and there. Some kids may be motivated simply by winning the round!
If you have an only child--have them race the clock. Or join in the "fun" with them.
This method works because of it's simplicity and the way it breaks a big job up into quick manageable bites. And a little healthy competition is the perfect way to teach your kids about being a gracious winner and not being a sore loser.
It's the perfect weapon to have in my Clean Up War arsenal.
Have you found anything that works for you? Share in the comments.