Messy Room Manipulation

I have a problem.

I have a hard time enforcing chores with my kids.  I know this is bad.  It is so much easier to do it myself than to fight it out with them.  Faye is not so bad.  She usually helps me in whatever I ask her.  Keith, on the other hand will fight me tooth and nail to get out of cleaning his room.  And so I had been doing it for him.

But I got tired of it and decided to put an end to it.

For FHE tonight, I decided to attempt, yet again, to instill the importance of work in my son's little soul.

He sat on my lap the whole time, and filled my heart with joy.  He doesn't like to sit on my lap often any more.  He says he is too big, or something like that.  Stuff and nonsense, I say.

His cousins are staying over for a few days, so he is very distracted.  I figured they would have fun with this lesson as well, so we all sat down, and talked about why work is important.  It was like Keith was reading my mind.  He raised his hand (nearly giving me a bloody nose), and said to get food we have to plant a little seed, and give it water and sunshine, and then it will grow up big and tall and we can eat it.

My heart swelled with pride.  He remembered what I had been teaching him while doing yard work.

We talked about the necessity of giving the plant plenty of water and pulling the weeds, and planting it in the right spot, etc.

I then read the story of the Little Red Hen and we discussed why the duck, the cat and the dog didn't get to eat any of the yummy bread.

I asked them if they wanted to have dessert, and they all jumped up and said "yeah!"

We went into the kitchen and made ice cream in a bag.

The kids didn't want to shake the bags.  It was cold and their arms hurt.  I had to keep reminding them of the icey goodness that would come from their hard work.  Finally, when they couldn't stand it any longer, we opened up the bags and ate the ice cream.

They were so good with helping get things cleaned up after that!  I sort of love that story now.  I think I need to frame The Little Red Hen or something, because it worked like magic.  :)

Only time will tell if this activity worked or not.  I am dreading cleaning the kids room by myself.  This was sort of a preemptive strike.


Lourie said…
Keep at it. My kids are horrible. I am still working at it, but am not consistent enough. Maybe I need that red hen too. :)
I love that book! My mother used to read me the Spanish version as a child. You are so creative. I will have to steal this idea for the future.

Chores are interesting in our home. Harmon likes doing it so we are hoping to capitalize on that... I want to start connecting them to earning things. I love a book called Parenting w/Love and Logic that encourages parents to help kids make good decisions.
Lisa said…
I'm actually starting a chore chart for the first time EVER with my kids. They have learned that picking up their toys is good because if they don't, the toys will go on time-out (not the kids) and they have to earn them back. But they don't do many other chores.
Want a good read? Go find "The Parenting Breakthrough" by Merilee Boyack. Pure genius. :)
So cute! I love that lesson! I usually bribe my kid with candy to clean! LOL, bad but it works.
Susan Anderson said…
Don't give up, Amy. It will be worth it in the end, and the lesson generalizes. It's not just about cleaning, it's about self-sufficiency and entitlement. To learn independence, a child has to learn to take care of himself in every arena. If you pick and choose the areas of independence, they get a mixed message and it doesn't take as well.

Good luck. I know it's not easy, but you'll be SO glad you did it...especially when it's school work they don't want to do!


Emmy said…
Oh I think I am going to copy your lesson idea. Before bed our kids are required to clean up and they get ten minutes to do so- whatever is not cleaned up gets "thrown away"-I,e. Put in a bag in Ryder's closet. They can earn those toys back- for every minute that they finish under ten- so if they finish in eight then they can get two toys back. So if they have everything cleaned up before bedtime then they can get ten toys back-so it is incentive to keep things clean during the day.
Jenny said…
I think it's an age thing, too. Little kids need little chores, but consistent ones. I think this was a clever way to handle it. And that ice cream looks delicious!
Little Red Hen is one of my favorite books. And you've reminded me it is missing! Must go find it...
Em said…
i have never heard of ice cream in a bag, but that sounds like a great family night treat!!! might just be me being unorganized, but i'm thinking chores are very informal right now. like, we have five minutes so everybody pick up the water table toys to earn 50 cents to spend at holiday. works like a charm EVERY TIME:)
Terra said…
It definitely works! It is a great story! And the homemade icecream...every kid has to make it once!!! YUM>
I love that story. It's one I need to hear sometimes too. Great ideas on teaching the principle of work. I may do this at our house. Because i am rather sick of being a one woman cleaning machine too.

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