I have a confession to make. I have tricked my children into cleaning, and I have brainwashed them to LOVE it. They actually fight over who gets to clean what, and who’s turn it is to clean the floor.
I know what you’re thinking.
“WHAT? HOW ON EARTH DID YOU MANAGE THAT?”
Well you see I got tired of hollering at them to clean up, tired of fighting with them to pick up their toys, and I got really tired of being mommy maid.
Today, the house was a disaster, and in desperate need of spring cleaning. So, I made up a funny little game.
I said, “Imagine an alien came in here and started throwing around your toys. That’s who made this huge mess. It was an alien who messed up the house.”
I’m giving them a way out, see? Taking away the guilt trip of who made the mess. It wasn’t their fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. Oh no, it was a crafty little purple alien taking the responsibility for destroying the house.
“Then, the Men in Black came to the rescue and shot him with a big shiny gun. So he exploded.”
Then I grandly waved my arms around in a great state of shock, “Now just look at all the alien slime all over everything! He splattered all over! We have to be the clean up crew to clean up this mess! Because that’s our job.”
Then I got out some rags for dusting, roped the hubby into vacuuming, and we promptly got underway.
Let me tell you, they loved it.
They weren’t cleaning. Oh no, they were professional alien goo cleaners, scrubbing the crime scene back to spotless glory.
And they did and amazing job. They wiped every surface, the toys even got a wipe before they were put away. They fought over who was going to wipe the lamp, before coming up with a way that they could all wipe it. About an hour later, house was spotless.
That’s all you do. You have to think like them. It helps if you watch a lot of cartoons, as it makes coming up with plot lines a lot easier. And you know what? It’s the most fun EVER. It’s a bonus that the house gets clean.
A word of warning: You have to play too or it won’t work.
Trust me, it’s worth letting go for an hour. Stop being a dictator and play like a kid. Enter their world of imagination. Think like a kid again. Have some FUN! Who knew cleaning could be a fun game? But before you know it, you’ll all be singing, “Everything is awesome when you’re part of a team! Everything is AWESOME!!!”
Everyone was happy.
Well, maybe not the hubby. He was taken completely off guard by the enthusiasm for cleaning so early on a Saturday and demanded to talk to the union rep about being forced to work through his morning coffee.
But here’s how I see it – play with them now while they’re willing, because one day they will grow up into teenagers, lock themselves in their room and you’ll never see them again. You’ll be like: