Friday, October 10, 2008

Making Yardwork Fun

One of the reasons I had kids was to help take care of me in my old age. I also am trying to get my 3 boys to pull their own weight around the house. My children won't willingly do chores but I find if I make it a contest or a challenge, then it's "Game On!"

When I have a basket of clean clothes, it's time for the "Laundry Game" where we have a competition to see who can fold and put away their laundry the quickest. Dishes must be cleared and put into the dishwasher if there is to be dessert. Right before I vacuum a room, the boys have 5 minutes to pick up their stuff so I don't "accidentally" suck their toys up into my vacuum cleaner. There needs to be a reward or consequence to gain full cooperation.

I have extended the fun to include the yard work.

This has been a crazy season for nuts. Our patio and surrounding area has been bombarded with acorns and hickory nuts. The nuts have been making a mess on our patio and need to be handpicked out of the surrounding pebbles. We held a competition to see who could fill their 5 gallon bucket first.

I helped by working alongside the boys and took turns dumping my much smaller container into each of my boys buckets. In just under an hour, my eldest son was declared the winner ( see the full bucket in the top photo) and our patio area looked tons better!

We are still working on perfecting the sport of team speed cleaning before company is due.

We have family coming to visit tomorrow. I think tonight we will have the "House Cleaning Olympics". I would appreciate any suggestions for "games" we can include. Perhaps a contest for the best game idea????? Anyone?


Mooshki said...

You're not "Bad Momma," you're "Brilliant Momma!" :)

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

I second Mooshki motion, you are a brilliant Momma. Brainwash them into thinking work is fun. I wish I employed that technique when they were younger.

Tara R. said...

When my kids were younger we would have races... who could clean up their mess first, or put their clothes away first. My kids are very competitive.

terri said...

Work is always easier when you can break it down. Use the "5 things" trick. Who can pick up and put away five things the quickest? Who can dust five surfaces the quickest? Or set a timer for 3 minutes and see if an entire (small) task can be completed before the bell rings.

Of course, around here, with biggger kids, they're starting to catch on. We use their social lives as leverage. They can go to the game after a chore is done. Hunting season is a biggie with our son. He's a chore maniac when there's a hunting trip on the horizon. You do whatever it takes, right?

Weaselmomma said...

I agree that this is brilliant.
I have individual motivations for buttons I can push with each kid. Monkey Weasel has an almost unnatural attachment to her stuffed Pooh Bear. I tell her to do X, or we are going to play the hostage game. That's the game where I blind fold Pooh Bear and hide him somewhere and take a picture to show her.( she 1/2 laughs, 1/2 panics, but gets the job done. But this only works because she treats Pooh like a living breathing thing.
This makes me sound sooo much more cruel and twisted than I really am. It's only a stuffed animal.

Bad Momma said...

Thanks for the ideas! I love the 5 things idea. The hostage idea sounds interesting but I worry about having to pay for therapy when they are adults! I would love to see a photo of Pooh Bear all bound & gagged.....

Tonight after the cousins left, I used dessert as hostage to get a mess in the basement cleaned up.

4funboys said...

bragging rights are HUGE around here...

it get's even worse as they get older too... but oh, was it great when they were little.