I am a cleaning freak. I like pleasing my eyes with a beautiful interior around me instead of trying to find the couch behind the mess. And I like tidying up things. And I actually do it all the free time I have while my littlest one is awake, so I also believe that I deserve some rest when she goes to sleep. Well, this is me.
I’m raising my third toddler now, and this stage of her age is the hardest for me as for the cleaning freak. She can mess everything around us much faster than I can clean it. She is much skillful of messing things than me of cleaning our rooms. Usually I like having my floor washed at least once in two days (don’t like feeling sand under my feet in our home), but now I can’t get to actual floor washing for weeks! Well, this is her.
I have two bigger girls on a summer break in addition to Marge now. They can clean, I’ve seen them doing it. But the sad truth is, they don’t seem to see any point in doing it. Besides, they have so many things that it’s no wonder that their young minds just can’t cope with the cleaning process. I must admit, there are times when I feel lost in their room too. Well, these are them.
When the summer break had been already around the corner, I imagined how I will slowly, or, perhaps, pretty rapidly, go nuts with our house cleaning this summer. I imagined how I will ask my girls to clean their room, then I’ll beg, then I’ll threaten, and then there will either be an explosion, or just a nasty quarrel. I thought about all that with a true fear and then one brilliant idea came to my mind.
As a cleaning pro I know that the best way to keep the house clean is to perform some small cleaning tasks every day. Tidying up everything in one day is too much and almost impossible. So what I came up with was choosing a theme for a day that would help us to concentrate on one thing (or on one kind of things) per a day or two. For example, we already had a day of a put-away-while-it’s-summer school bag and a day of neat book shelves. And today we had a day of paired socks. I declared a sock hunt and we kept finding those through the whole day almost everywhere. Seriously, if you can name a place, you will most likely find a sock there. And then my girls tried to go reluctant, but I was pretty cruel and decided that all of the socks without their pairs will be thrown away by the end of the day. This was extremely motivating, as the girls truly hate throwing away things. Even when it’s something old and broken.
I make posters for the girls with a theme announcement and their task to complete it. I had a desire to embellish those with pictures drawn by myself at first, but quickly realised that my plans as always don’t really fit in the time I have. So I just used some cute, but mostly irrelevant free-to-download designs that I found on the web over here.
You can have a glimpse on my posters.
Вот, как это выглядит.
Here are some ideas for our future themes (notice that those shouldn’t always be a task. You can suggest something fun for a change every once in a while too):
– the day of sharpened pencils;
– the day of hair accessories hunt;
– the day of the behind-the-sofa’s dust;
– the day of polished nails;
– the day of shining tables;
– the day of museum/cinema/zoo.
– день поточенных карандашей;
– день охоты на резинки и заколки;
– день задиванной пыли;
– день накрашенных ногтей;
– день блестящих столов;
– день музея/кино/зоопарка.
And then comes the second part of the idea — the motivation. How to achieve their willingness to participate? Young kids usually don’t see any point in cleaning beside the one that their Mom told them to do it. It’s pretty normal and I totally remember myself being in the same shoe. And then I thought of a sticker system. These always seemed too sophisticated to me and in the past I couldn’t come up with the system of rewards that would comfort my needs. But now the idea was clear to me — I should do it like supermarkets do! I should make a little book for my girls with places for the collectable stickers. Well, calling it a “book” is a bit too much, because it’s just a folded piece of paper. It looks cool and pretty attractive though (the girls have their pictures printed on them too). And the good thing is that the girls are familiar with the system. The book has places for 50 stickers to collect and then can be exchanged for a gift. You can use any small stickers for this purpose.
For now I can say that the system really works. The school bag is were it should be, book shelves look neat and organised. So, if you’re struggling with the same problem with your kids, I encourage you to try it. You can download and use for this purpose my printable page with two sticker books I drew for my kids.