Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cleaning Rooms

Milestone Monday

This room looks like a tornado hit it!

What were you, raised in a barn?!!

Clean this pig sty up!

These are among the list of many things I knew I would never say to my kids. Then, I had some. LOL!

While teaching in the public schools, I attended a workshop on keeping classrooms organized. The speaker had some great ideas… color coding, gluing pictures on storage bins so little ones know what goes inside, taping the outline of an object to the place where it belongs on a shelf, etc. I used many of these in my classroom with success.

I decided that since this worked so well at school, I would use these techniques at home with my boys while they were toddlers. Supposedly, this would teach them organization and build a routine in which they would clean behind themselves without prompting from a parent.

What's that sound? Do I hear giggling coming through my computer?

Yeah, that's what I thought then. But what I know now is that the cleanliness of my house depends on my management of it. I am the keeper of my home, given the charge of its care. Things don't just magically happen. This has been a milestone for me recently… coming to terms with the fact that I must constantly stay on top of cleaning routines.

These are my best suggestions to date:

1. I highly recommend Bedroom Cleaning for Kids: Clean N Flip by von Eggers. It contains a six-step procedure for cleaning a room, written and illustrated so that children can follow it with little supervision. Though I still have to say, "It's clean-up time," I don't have to stand over them to ensure the job gets done right.

2. I room check frequently, at least 4 nights per week, before bedtime. When I inspect, I look for toys in their proper places, for dirty clothes in the hamper, and for neatly (not perfectly) made beds. I always inspect under furniture. My kids' toys have a tendency to migrate there. I place a sticker on the chart pictured above each night the room is clean. This chart helps us determine how much allowance they earn in a given week. I confiscate toys not put away, and they go into a "mom store" from which the boys must repurchase them before they can spend their allowance on anything else. OUCH!! It hurts but works.

3. At the end of each week, we pay our boys an allowance based on how well they performed their chores. Some say don't pay for chores because every member of the house is to contribute without being paid. Michael and I, on the other hand, want our boys to earn money so that we can teach them how to manage it. Chores are the best means for accomplishing this in our house. We require them to tithe, save and invest portions of their money before being allowed to spend. See this post by Counter-cultural School for good advice on teaching money management. Keep in mind that I only mention this tip as something that works for us and would not advise any mom to do anything that contradicts her conscience or her husband.

4. I have a designated "toy area" in each main room of my house. I used to keep all toys in one room. Now, I keep Lego's in the breakfast nook. Board games are stored on a shelf in the living room. Educational games and puzzles are kept in the classroom. This has helped to contain messes, making them easier to clean up.

Play Areas around Our House

Feel free to leave comments with any tips you have.
I am always open to suggestions.

Also, check out Coach Mom Says.
Her sense of humor is great and so are her cleaning tips.

Happy Cleaning!

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