Family Cleaning: Motivating Kids. So they don't want to do their chores, do they?
Instead of raising your voice, raise the stakes with positive motivators. Here are 3 that you should try at home.
The reason most family homes look war-torn is because rooms haven't been set up for daily living by parents and kids.
To make matters worse, often one adult - usually Mom - has sole responsibility for masterminding all the details (which is why moms sometimes get that funny, shell-shocked look around 7 p.m.)
Besides being bad for Mom's long-term mental health, having one person doing all the cleaning just isn't fair.
After all, we didn't mess up the house by ourselves, so why should we have to clean it alone?
I saved the best part for last.
When we get the rest of the family involved, World War III will be averted, Mom won't be cranky anymore, and everyone has a clean home to come home to. Does it get any better than this?
This is a good system for encouraging long-term behavior change. I gave my 10-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son each two pint-size jars. One was filled with marbles, the other was empty. Each time he or she did a chore, we moved a marble into the empty jar.
Each time he or she missed a chore, we returned a marble to the original jar.
When the second jar was full, each child received a big reward. My daughter worked on hers for almost an entire school year and was rewarded with the cat she desperately wanted.
My son got tickets to a pro football game (but took a bit longer to earn.)
For my little 3-year-old guy, cleaning games worked wonders. Here's how to play our favorite, which we call "Onesie".
He puts away one type of object, for example, everything that's blue, bigger than his hand, or round. When he was a baby, I simply had him put things into boxes or low plastic bins as we went.
No, he really didn't help much, but he enjoyed it and became accustomed to the idea that he should help clean.
Plus, games like these provide a great way to introduce a toddler to educational concepts like colors, shapes and sizes.
On Saturdays, we engage in a 60-minute, top-to-bottom cleaning routine.
This is a round-the-room and through-the-home cleaning and organizing system, with a role for everyone.
The tallest takes top duty, wiping down crown molding, cabinet tops, and hanging lamps, while the smallest tackles the close-to-the-ground jobs, such as running his hand along the baseboards with a damp tube sock.
Meanwhile, my daughter cruises around the room damp-mopping the floor, while I change the sheets.
The goal of the day is to turn housework into teamwork, with each member of the family helping get it all done right - and fast.
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.