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SELF-QUARANTINING IS A MESS, LITERALLY
Keeping a clean home clean is hard enough without the added wear and tear of your entire family being stuck in one space for days on end. If you’re like me, you have been advised to self-quarantine and haven’t left the house in over a week.
This causes a few problems: loneliness, anxiety, frustration, impatience, and fear—which I will be discussing with you next week, but it also causes simpler issues of just keeping up with the messes of daily living.
In our home, my husband is working remotely, which is such a blessing, but he is in his office for his 40 hour work week and I’m in a wheelchair from my latest Lyme flare trying to homeschool my 5 and 8 year old.
But school is not my top priority right now. It’s making sure that my family is doing ok. Checking in with how everyone’s feeling, getting outside everyday for some fresh air, creating opportunities for fun and making my children feel safe and loved.
I know personally that when my house is a disaster, it stresses me out, so many times when I’m anxious, I’ll go around and straighten up to feel a little more in control of the situation. I can find things, I can sit comfortably, and everyone seems to be in a better mood when things are in order.
The past few days I’ve experimented with a few ways to get the kids to help with housecleaning in a way that doesn’t require me to yell and limits how much my husband has to clean up at night.
HOW CAN I GET THE KIDS TO HELP?
A chore chart isn’t the only way to get your kids to clean up their messes, so here are a few tips on getting them to help around the house.
1. MAGIC PIECE OF TRASH
This is great for cleaning up a super messy floor. Tell the kids that there’s a magic piece of trash (or item) on the floor and whoever picks it up gets a prize. The rule is: if it’s trash, they throw it away, and if it’s a toy or something to keep, they have to put it where it goes.
Obviously, wait until the end of the game to choose your item so that the floor gets clean, but don’t let them in on the secret. Act like they’re so close and end the game when around five things are still left on the floor.
Tell them to freeze, put away what’s left in their hands (because kids will throw their stuff down if they aren’t picked!) and then announce what the secret item was.
2. GIRLS VS BOYS COMPETITION
You can break this game into girls vs boys or any combination of teams from members in your family. Write down a list of everything that has to be cleaned and each team takes turns picking things off the list. Once the jobs are determined, race each other to get your team’s chores done first!
3. CHORE BINGO
Have each child get a Bingo sheet and make five in a row by the end of the day to get a prize. Print yours here.
4. GRAB BAG CHORES
Stick a small prize in up to 10 bags and label each bag with a chore. The kids pick one bag, do the chore and get to open the prize. Repeat until all bags are done.
5. RANDOM NUMBER APP
I use an app that generates a random number (and also rolls dice, picks a playing card, etc) and let each kid tap the button to pick their number. They run to their room, clean up that many items and then return to get their new number. Game ends when all items are picked up. Numbers between 5-15 work best.
6. SPEED CLEANING
Set the timer for 15 minutes and turn on some fast music. Everyone in the family cleans up as much as they can before the timer goes off. If your kids need extra motivation, tell them to pretend they are Sonic or a cheetah or something fast. Everyone who does a good job gets a treat when the timer goes off.
7. STICKER CHART
For daily chores, tell the kids they get a sticker for every chore they complete. When they reach a certain goal, they can earn chore money to save up to buy a prize. Here are some cute charts I found online.
8. IF THIS, THEN THAT
Is there something your kid is always bugging you about? Playing video games, watching tv, getting dessert, buying a toy? Use these opportunities to tell them if they do this chore, they’ll earn that reward.
- Ice cream
- Chocolate chips
- TV time
- Video game time
- Back rub
- Stay up late
- Pick dinner
- Chose family movie
- Chose game for family night
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While I don’t always reward my kids for cleaning (because doing things to be kind is necessary), it helps for them to have something to look forward to during this difficult season. Mix these methods up to keep the kids motivated. Just think—you might be able to have a clean house by tonight without all the stress and yelling!
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Feeling mentally overwhelmed by being at home for days on end? Me too! Read my tips on What To Do With the Kids During COVID-19. We’ve got this friends. Let’s take it one day at a time.