WFMW: Whiteboard+Dice+Kids=Painless Spring Clean

So here's the latest episode of Making Your Kids Work Without Losing Your Mind.

In the past we have gazed together upon the much beloved Stick Jars , the story boards, and who can forget the chore wheel. Have no fear, these will all go back into rotation soon enough, but as we know, when it comes to kids, variety is the spice (and success) of life. This tactic is more for catastrophic/spring cleaning events

When this last weekend rolled around, our house was frightening. Sick mom, New Beginnings Evening, work every day, four kids, crazy bunny, ... 'Nuff said. All hands were needed on deck, but things were so bad that strategy of military precision was required. It was time for a Mini-Spring clean. Enter yard sale, $2 white board. I got this a while ago. A whiteboard is an invaluable tool and every mom should get one. In the past I have sectioned it off with sticky ribbon which looks pretty but limits your options a bit so I pulled it off.

I split our home into 12 sections/rooms. Then I got two dice. I tell you what, when you introduce dice you have a game. It's quite uncanny. Try it. Hmmm...I now have the sudden urge to launch into song (actually this song is pretty insightful when it comes to getting kids to clean, if only I could get the finger snapping thing down...I have been working on that for years! Shoot.)

Since we have 6 people in our family, it all worked out quite nicely. (Other then for room number 1-but we all know what you do in that dilemma-mom gets it. There, solved.)

So each person got to throw the dice twice, with the sum of the dice obviously deciding which rooms they would clean. After some time, much hilarity, a fair amount of cheering and groaning (and much rooting for the stairway rather then the bathroom -thankfully stoic daddy got them both) and some negotiating and switching, we all got to work. The rule was that each thing on each room's list had to be checked off and once all 12 rooms were crossed through, we'd have a family treat.

It worked! 4 kids worked pretty steadily for 3-4 hours. They loved checking off the chores and I could turn my head when they took self-scheduled breaks-they knew what had to happen before the treat was delivered. I love the no nagging part. By the end of the afternoon, we had accomplished an enormous amount, everyone felt a great sense of satisfaction, my vocal chords were intact, we got to go out for dinner and best of all we came home to a clean house.

This morning I had the board propped up and waiting for them with a cheerful greeting and a list of instructions before school. It was a smooth and quiet morning. It is amazing how much more likely kids are do to things willingly when the instruction does not come out of their mother's mouth. Kids are suckers for dry erase markers and autonomy. And that works for me.

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{april kennedy} said...

Ohhhh...I have to try the white board. Kaia always says, "please please don't list the stuff I have to do" as she covers her ears! It drives me crazy. I will write it next time! I, myself, love crossing off a list of to-do's! Thanks for a great post and idea.

nyn said...

This is such a grand plan. I must now go and buy a dry erase board. Love this idea.

ukyankoz said...

I used to try so hard to snap my fingers just right when I was a kid to get my room clean! I was so disappointed when I couldn't get it to work!

Seriously great idea for chores - do you think it will work with just me & my hubby?? :)

Kate said...

Great idea! I've found that my daughter would much rather I make a quick list for her, than to constantly nag her. =) I love the idea of rolling dice. We'll have to try this out, because Heaven knows my house could use a Spring cleaning.

"Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?"

Dad said...

Great ideas! Wish I had thought of it when I had kids at home.

Sherry said...

Great idea! :D I know I have my own to-do list on my blog but this would be great for my children and maybe dh, too! :D

Clean and Classic Interiors said...

What a GREAT idea! Whiteboards always worked for me as a teacher -- but why not as a mom?! I love the game idea also. My kids might be a little young now, but I'm filing this idea away! Thanks so much for sharing!

Stephanie said...

Brilliant! (as always...)

5intow said...

Great idea, looks like FUN! Love when chores work out that way. :-)

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