Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chores - associate with fun and time with parent

Chores are often not intrinsically motivating so we should try and give them an association of fun. We can have plenty of good music , song , dance , snacks and drink. There are plenty of cleaning up and fun games that make chores more fun. When we and our kids enjoy ourselves , we not only connect with each other – relatedness , but we also connect also to our inner cores and feel more autonomous  and self directed. Chores are a great opportunity to do things together with kids and give them more attention in a loving and non-judgemental way..

Since cleaning up toys is one of the most common struggles, there are lots of variations of games to get this done.  You might race to see if the children can finish the living room before you finish the kitchen (and just keep finding things to clean until they win), or time their cleanup.  In Hide-N-Seek Cleanup, the children clean up some number of things and you try to figure out what is now missing.  In Relay-Hug Cleanup, the child runs, cleans up a certain number of things, runs back for a hug, and repeats until the space is clean.  These are just ideas—the real fun is letting the child come up with inventive games.
These games also offers an opportunity to talk about how nice it feels when rooms are clean and how great it feels to work together.  
Top-to-bottom cleanup—Have you ever noticed how it is more fun to do someone else's work than your own?  In this game, work together to clean the house, without attention to who made the mess.  Take a laundry basket with you to put items that belong in other rooms, and ask your child to "drive" it from room to room, putting things away as you travel.  The laundry basket can be a dump-truck and the vacuum can be a bulldozer. Blue carpet can be water and you can be dredging the ocean.  One time we were saving all the animals in the jungle from the construction.  (We had a snack of broccoli trees for that one!)  Use your imaginations!
One caveat with this game—be sure to stop before the child is tired even if he doesn’t recognize it.  It’s easy to get fired up, and then push it too far. It’s critical that everyone remember it being fun, not exhausting.
15 Minutes Each—Each person gets 15 minutes to be in control of the activity. Whoever’s turn it is gets to choose a (reasonable and comfortable) activity and make all the rules. Because often children don’t like to try new things but then loves them once they do, you can use your turn to get them to try something new.  When it is their turn, children may enjoy telling you exactly what to do—how to drive each car and correcting you if you didn’t do it perfectly—it’s an oddly reversed déjà vu feeling :)
(Note: The Playful Parenting book has the concept of “Play Time” which is child-directed play, and recommends you do this frequently (every day for little children), with no strings attached.  We’ve not played the “15-minutes each” game in a while; perhaps we’ve outgrown the need for it. I’m now ambivalent about requiring him to give me a turn, since effectively it is my turn the rest of the day.  However, at the time, this really worked well for both of us.  (Go with your gut on this one)).
A simple yet effective game that works well for children that get overwhelmed trying to figure out where things go when cleaning up.  The child is the delivery person, perhaps using a laundry basket “delivery truck” to pick up items and deliver them to various places. A variation is to use a dump-truck in the garden or yard and have the child pick up weeds you have pulled.

From the Yahoo Unconditional Parenting group –  Lynn

-"Beat the Clock" - put on a dinging timer, use an egg timer, or put on a song,
and see if you can get the floor clear before the ding/end of song
-Color by color - assign each child a color of toy to clean up ("how many BLUE
toys do you think you can find?")  - you can also do letters of the alphabet for
older ones
-Pretend games - this requires more mental effort on your part, but make up a
scenario to act out that involves getting things picked up, i.e. "We're trapped
on a desert island, and a helicopter is about to land to rescue us, but it needs
a clear spot to land!  Hurry!!  :Let's make the ground clear!"  or "A hungry
alligator/dinosaur/monster/etc. is coming this way, and do you know what he
likes to eat best?  TOYS!  Oh no, let's hide them before he eats all our toys!"
or "Let's pretend we're in Cinderella's castle, and we're the animals who help
her with her chores" or "Let's pretend this is a toy store, and we're the
owners, and we're closing up shop for the night." 
-"Follow the leader" - pick a silly way to pick up the toys ("everyone hop on
one foot while putting the next toy away" / "walk backwards to put the next one
away" / "sing happy birthday as loud as you can while putting the next one away"
/ "everyone make your favorite animal noise while putting away the next one"),
then rotate, letting everyone have a turn to pick something funny to do
-Relays - one person puts away a toy as fast as (s)he can, then tags the next
person, etc. - can do in two or more teams if there is a big group

 "hey, let's spend ten minutes and see how much we can get done." Then I start. Sometimes
they pitch in, sometimes they don't. Either way, ten minutes later it's a
little cleaner

Some good ideas below


1 comment:

  1. My girls love to help clean and will enjoy these games! Thanks for the fun ideas.