One thing my children do not enjoy doing is picking up. It is torture to them to actually have to put their things away. This week we got a little out of our routine and today when we came home from church we decided it was clean up time. Both the kid’s room as well as the play room and our living room were disastrous. It started out with me assigning them their specific job they needed to work on, Isaiah dinosaurs, Ayla Polly Pockets. Seems simple enough. Isaiah began, “But Mommy, Ayla played with the dinosaurs too.” I respond, “Well I didn’t play with anything and I am helping so let’s all just work together.” This went fine for two whole minutes until Ayla needed to complain, “Isaiah’s not helping, he is playing.” Thank you informer I think, but I take a deep breath and respond, “You take care of you, I will take care of Isaiah.” I do not enjoy times like this. The tatteling war began on who could avoid picking up and tattle instead. AHHHHHH! I really wanted to yell, but I simply stated, ” Daddy said you could watch a video this afternoon, but there will be no videos for kids that do not clean up.” Great, now I am bribing my children, how did this get so out of hand? The y whine a little and then Isaiah says, “Okay I will choose no video.” What? Who are you? I do not allow a lot of T.V. so this is quite a shocker. “Actually that is not a choice,” I say. “You WILL be cleaning up.” Yikes. The books were a battle ending with Isaiah losing the priviledge of reading books in his bed for tonight. When it was all over (I think this went on about 35 minutes), I began thinking of ways to motivate my children. Here are some things I have done in the past, let me know your ideas!
1. I have heard of parents telling their children there is a toy fairy that will take the toys away for a period of time at the end of the day if they are not cleaned up. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I have taken toys away myself.
2. Make it a competition. This is Isaiah’s favorite, I think because he usually wins. Who can clean up more blocks? Will Ayla finish the play room before Isaiah is done with his room? We also have set a timer so we race that. Very motivating!
3. Be a good role model. It is hard for me to tell my kids to pick up if I have magazines and books across our kitchen counter.
4. Organizing our items help so each toy has a specific tub. I also try to keep the routine the same. We always clean up after our rest time in the afternoon, before we get another toy out, and at the end of the day.