Earlier this week, by a stroke of inspiration, I came up with a kids cleaning idea that may change my life. Definitely my house!
I was sitting on the couch, and getting frustrated at the "kid-clutter" all over the floor - shoes, socks, dirty clothes, toys.... you get the picture. The kids were running back and forth, chasing each other, so I hollered out, "Boys! Get in here. We're going to take 60 seconds and pick up this room." So I started counting..... It definitely wasn't just 60 seconds, as I stopped to instruct, "26..... 27...... That goes in the bathroom. In the hamper not on the floor!...... 28..... Put those on the back porch. Hang them up....... 29....." But they really jumped on it, racing to see if they could get it picked up before I got done counting. I was so pleased with the result that I gave both boys a dollar when they were done. (I never give monetary rewards - I'm too tight!)
I've employed it at least once daily since then. (No payouts these times though.) Nathan has caught on that it's not exactly a game, so he doesn't race any more - he can't seem too eager to please! - but at least he still contributes without arguing. We've used it on the living room, the front room, the dining room, and the back porch. Tomorrow I'm going to see how it goes for the bathroom.
I think the reason it works so well is that they know they only have to clean until I reach 60, so it's not an open-ended task. As soon as we reach 60, they get to go back to playing, and Mommy is happy.
And when Mommy is happy, everybody is happy. :)