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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Motivating kids to clean up after themselves

     I will admit it for all the world to know....I'm a bit of a neat freak! There, I said it, its out there!

     The problem is I have a small house, four kids and a husband. Need I say more! Now really, my family is not the problem, in fact they are the biggest blessings in my life. The problem is that having 4 kids, a small house and a husband do not blend well with my neat freakishness. I am definitely a work in progress and have grown leaps and bounds in this area. I'd like to think I've become more laid back as time goes on {no comments please!}. Winter time seems to be the worst around here as we all live on top of one another and outdoor playtime only lasts as long as the mittens stay warm.

     All this being said, I have tried many things to encourage my children to pick up after themselves. For some odd reason, nothing seems to be working.....until now. And this my dear friends is what I want to share with you.

     It dawned on me one day that I spend an enormous amount of time following trails of mess around the house as I pick up after my kids, growing more and more frustrated along the way. I certainly don't expect the whole house to stay picked up but at least the main floor should be somewhat tidy. It was on this day that I came up with my plan. Here's how it works:

  •       When the kids get something out or bring something down from their rooms they put it away when they are done. {There rooms can stay messy all day, that's their zone - they do a general pick up there each morning before school and a deep clean on Saturday}

  •        If they forget to pick up when they are done, they get a check mark after their name on my chalkboard. {If mom is feeling really nice they might get a reminder first}

  •        If they accumulate 3 check marks in one week they have to do an hours worth of house work for mom. {This is my favorite part} These jobs are usually things I don't get time to do often enough like washing windows, cleaning mopboards or washing walls.

  •       Every Sunday we wipe the slate clean and start over. It could be possible in any given week that more than one hour of housework would be required if they continued to accumulate points.

  •        My husband has amended this a little bit and will take a point away if they go out of their way to be helpful like doing a chore for one of their siblings or offering to help mom do some of her housework etc.

     This plan has worked amazingly well for my older children {ages 9,7,&6}. My 3 year old is off the hook for now although he is still required to help out. We've been doing this now for about 8 weeks and each of the kids have only earned one hour of cleaning time. And now, order has been restored, and this neat freak momma is happy! 


I'm linking up here:


  1. I WISH I were a neat freak! I'm such a polar opposite that I have no idea what a mopboard even is!

  2. Hi Jody, you are too cute. I love your chalkboard but glad to hear that you as parents are, on the whole, pretty lenient with the children whilst teaching them excellent life skills. I wish I had that idea when my boys (3) were little. Thanks so much for sharing and Happy New Year. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  3. Wonder if this will work for Michael and Grace! Ha!


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