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From: Jaq (
Subject:         Call me crazy, but I miss those days. And Yes, lol, if your boys are like my daughters,
Date: March 13, 2006 at 11:30 am PST

In Reply to: cleaning rooms posted by karla on March 9, 2006 at 8:07 am:

clutter is everywhere, and they are probably overwhelmed. Here are some helpful hints I have gleaned.

** Try compartmentalizing the job. eg., I would ask one daughter to take a lovely basket and collect all the dolly clothes and shoes. The other would take a pretty bag and collect all the stuffies. OR use color---Collect all the pink toys, or all the yellow toys, etc.

Sometimes, I would use a broom and sweep the toys in a big pile in the middle of the room. Then I asked each one to take their favorites and put it away. THen their second favorites. THen all the Blue ones had to be put away.....etc. Don't be surprised if you might do this more than once a day!

** Also, schedules are very soothing for kids. They know what to expect and it's something they can count on. Infusing some flexibility, however, is not a bad idea.

Have a schedule for housekeeping. eg., Morning bed making and collecting of laundry. Playtime or reading a book in-between chores cuts up the monotony.

** For an art project, together, make an incentive chart and color code (list) chores. Use happy faces when the jobs done. Let the kids put the faces on it when they are done. Very important to build personal involvement in the creation and completion.
No frownies even if they miss a chore!!! Criticisms can be soul-cutting and really just back fires anyway.
The one with the most happy faces gets to choose a privilege.

**Keep it positive and use humor. Janet's suggestion was a good one. eg., I would start the vacuum cleaner and annouce the presence of the Barbie shoe eating machine! Boy, did they run to collect the toys!

** Clean with The Kids! and sing a song or something silly. If you don't want to sing, start a silly song on a tape player. Using both sides of the brain is fun and cleaning with a parent builds relationships. It also conditions them to help out when they are teens.

** Sometimes kids have too many things and it's too difficult to manage. You might take some of the toys and place them in a closet. These items can be brought out a month later. It's like CHristmas all over again.

My dd's are teens now. They still are the Princess and the C (instead of P). C for clutter. AND still I start the vacuum cleaner announcing it's capability to suck up treasures on the floor. They roll their eyes around and do the chicken head thing at me (and I bob my head back with a grin). But you see at 50 something, I get dust off the floor without picking up anything. THe bending down is not my thing unless I'm at the gym. I claim weak sight (true, tho) and usually one teen will follow me around to be sure I do not accidently suck-up something they want. Furniture gets moved, items are picked up out of my way. Team work makes the job so much easier and we get the entire house done in a jiffy.

Above all, have fun, mom. They're young only for a short time (frankly, lol, we are too!)

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