So yesterday, with piles of shoes and toys mounting, groceries that had been unpacked onto the counter, but not put away, and a play date looming for later in the afternoon something had to be done. However, the last thing I felt like doing after returning from the grocery store and getting the littlest munchkin down for a nap was cleaning house. I had warned “A” earlier that he would have to help but he seemed less than enthusiastic.
I’ve heard this tip a few times but never actually put it into practice until now. I really can’t remember where I first saw it, but quite frankly, I wish I had done it sooner! I have never seen such a big smile on a little face when faced with the task of cleaning up. Here’s my version of it….
The idea = You set a timer for a designated amount of time (in our case 15min…do whatever seems age appropriate for those helping you) and then everyone in the house does their assigned cleaning/pick-up tasks until the timer expires. We called it ‘Beat the Clock Cleaning’ or ‘Speed Cleaning’. Dub it whatever you want as long you get everyone to buy in 🙂 In my case ‘Beat the Clock’ works great with my seven year old. He just simply can not turn down a challenge, especially when he’s being timed. Whoever finishes first is crowned the “winner”. However, we all know Mom is the real winner here 😉
What happens if someone finishes before the timer expires you ask? Well you can either just let them be done and be thankful for the help or, if you have a child who can’t resist over achieving then…. that’s the bonus round. Assign more tasks…genius! See if they can complete their bonus round before both the timer expires and/or others finish their tasks. In our case Addison was onto his triple bonus round before our fifteen minutes expired. When the timer finally went off he immediately asked if we could play again!
The reward = Everyone, including mom, gets to go do whatever they want (set the timer again) for the exact amount of time that was spent cleaning…. extra video game time, computer time, reading, rest, whatever it may be! I must confess that I did let “A” talk me into an extra five minutes of reward time since he had, after all, entered his triple bonus round. I was anxious to get a little “me” time anyway so sure, I’ll take the extra five! Bonus for Mom….I was not bothered for a thing during our reward time because he was so into the idea of having twenty minutes to do whatever he wanted by himself.
In the end, what I’m most grateful for is the tidied up house and the little extra fifteen minutes we had bonding over (of all things) cleaning. It was actually fun for both of us! We will definitely be using this method of getting things done again.