While my mom was visiting us for 3 1/2 weeks, she took the time to get my house clean. It is the best it has looked since we moved in. With daily maintenance, it takes about 10 minutes to get it clean at the end of the day. On Thursday night, it was time to get the house clean again before the kids went to bed. I asked my husband to set the timer for 10 minutes. This was so the kids could know that it didn't take very long to clean the house. My daughter started crying, my older son didn't want to help, and my youngest son just refused. I was at my wits end.
Mom called about 8 minutes into it, and I started to cry. This helped the kids want to clean. They don't like to see my cry, and my hormones are still not all balanced yet after the birth of my baby, because I generally wouldn't cry over this either. Mom didn't like to hear me crying on the phone and she asked if I wanted her to talk to the children. I said sure. I don't know what she said to them, but by the time I came out of their room, they were off the phone and apologizing. The house got clean and it took less than 10 minutes.
The next day, Mom called and suggested that we play "Beat the Clock." This would entail setting the timer for a certain amount of time, and if the house was clean in that amount of time, each child would get a quarter. I was willing to try anything. I like having a clean house. So, that night, when my husband got home, I pitched the idea to him. He approved of the idea and the amount of money the children would get paid.
That night, we pitched the idea to the children and they were all excited. I explained this would mean that they could earn $1.75 each a week. It also meant that if they didn't get it done in the 10 minute time limit, they would have to give us back a quarter. They agreed. This would ensure that they didn't make to much of a mess daily, or if they did do something that would take longer, they would clean it up so they wouldn't lose their money.
So, the timer was set for 10 minutes. We started cleaning. Sure enough, it was done in 10 minutes. No crying (by me or my daughter), no whining, children asking what else they could do... what a great time! They were very pleased with their 25 cents at the end of the ten minutes.
To my surprise, last night I was talking to my brother on the phone. My 3 year-old started interrupting the conversation to ask if we could play "Beat the Clock." That made me smile, and I explained to my brother what he was talking about. He thought that was awesome. I explained to my 3 year-old that we would wait until it was closer to bedtime. We played again last night, it took a few seconds longer than 10 minutes, but they still got their 25 cents each.
I am thankful for a clean house and for children that are enjoying the chance to help keep it clean. I am thankful for my parents that care enough about me to think of a way that might help my children want to help out around the house.