One Friday after school, I decided that something had to be done – I couldn’t face the weekend with a totally messy house and looking around I realized that most of the mess was created by my three kids. I wanted them to help clean up, but know from experience that there is the hard way of getting this accomplished – screaming, yelling, demanding, and general dictatorship – and there is the easy way!
The secret is MAKE IT FUN! I devised a plan and when all was said and done, it took us about 2 hours to really make this house shine.
- A timer
- Strips of paper labeled with each room you want cleaned (we have done this with actual tasks, too)
- A bowl
- Some fun music
- A mystery/reward
We started by having my youngest daughter pull a slip of paper out of a bowl – this let us know where we would start. Once we knew the room, my oldest set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes and my middle daughter picked the tunes on the iPod. We all headed to that room and started picking things up, putting them away, wiping down surfaces, and getting the room clean.
When the timer went off, we stopped – no matter where we were in the process. I added a twist to the fun. As a reward I had planned on letting the kids get a movie off Pay-Per-View and having a family movie night, so I gave them a clue for the reward. I have never seen my kids so excited to get something done (especially my 7 year old who normally refuses to help with anything)!
After the 20 minutes was up, everyone got 5 minutes of free time before we started the process over with a new room. I switched up who got to pick the room, set the timer, and pick the music each time so that the kids felt like they were in charge.
You would be amazed at how easy this was and the kids were so proud of their work. I even overheard one of them reminding the other to pick up something in the bathroom because we had just worked so hard to make it clean!
PS – we watched The Game Plan as our reward. It was such a cute movie and totally appropriate for a family movie night!