(Originally posted 07/23/12)
As a parent, I have always had a hard time getting my kids to pitch in when things get particularly messy. My sister's oldest daughter loves to clean and gladly does all of her chores, and most of her siblings' chores. She love to clean and organize. I think she got that from my mom, who is the same way. The gene obviously skipped a generation, and skipped my family completely. When a big job needs to be done, her daughter gets excited and jumps right in. My kids hide.
My kids do do their daily chores. They know that if they want to do anything else they have to get them done because that is how they earn their keep. We haven't ever done the allowance thing, though I am actually in the process of coming up with a system. I will pay them if they actually do a significant part of the work around here without me having to tell them. That is the key. I don't want to have to think about it. There are some things around here that I do pay them to do. For example, I pay two dollars to clean out the refrigerator. There are times, however, when things just get out of hand, perhaps after we've all been sick, when we all need a little motivation. It's then that we play a game called I call "mystery items."
Here's how we do it: I look around and pick several things in the room that need to be put away. The number of things varies depending on how many kids are "playing" and how messy the room is. I write the list of "mystery items" on a piece of paper. The kids then start cleaning. When one of them puts away a mystery item, he or she gets a point. The beauty of the game is that the kids want to work as quickly as possible so that their odds of picking a mystery item increases. When the room is clean, I add up the points, and they get a prize. Usually it's candy. Not the best idea, I know, but it can really be anything. The kids don't mind cleaning when I made it game, and it gets done quickly. The tricky part is keeping track of who picks up what. Sometimes if they are really moving quickly I miss a few thing, but it's all in fun and the kids don't mind. Sometimes my oldest daughter will even play mystery items with her younger brothers in her room. I bet they'll play it with their kids.
So, how do you get your kids to clean up? Do you have any games that you play? I'd love to hear about it!
Happy cleaning!!! :)