Thursday, September 3, 2009

Loving the Clean Room Challenge

Our 2 oldest recently went to camp. They came back with tales of sweeping and dusting and cabin cleaning face-off competitions. A couple weekends back, Dear Husband got the kids pitching in a little extra, as things have gone a wee bit downhill in the nice, neat, and orderly department in our home in recent months, and as Big J (10 yrs) was sweeping the entry, he got to reminiscing-

Looking at dust pile, "Whoa- this would certainly need to get swept up at camp"

Hanging up a stray light jacket, "Our cabin lost one day when I hung my jacket on a pole" (see, now that's just excessive, I mean, it wasn't on the floor...)

So we got to chatting about the cabin cleaning, and I asked him how often they had to sweep, you know, just making conversation with a 10 yr old, surely I knew that sweeping should be done daily, surely, "Every day!" Of course, I knew that, surely.

Me- "Really? Imagine how nice it would look around here if we had a cleaning competition every day..."

Him- "Yah! That'd be awesome!" (or some similar expression of eagerness & excitement)

And so it began- the Daily Clean Room Challenge. Our 2 oldest (boys) share a room, the next 3 oldest (girls) also share a room, those are the current teams, the 2 youngest (girl & boy) are too young to truly make a mess and really never play in there room...

I don't know how long this will last, at least in it's current form- hopefully the cleaning itself will last, you know, forever (a mom can dream), but for now, this is a DAILY thing! It's getting hard to judge, they're getting down to tiny missed things like dust, a stray cobweb (ew!), loose air soft pellets, and random unstuck stickers that managed to evade the vacuum cleaner. I'm going to need a pair of white gloves soon. Then I'm going to need to have them start cleaning my room... or not. I told them next week I'd be joining in the competition, and if I can beat them on any given day, then they'll be assigned extra chores! I know, I am sooo mean.

Not really, but I am so tired of messy. Lived-in will always be the case in a home with many children, but perpetually messy has got to go. Now that the rooms have been so tidy for so many days, next week's challenge will be to add another area- so instead of 15 minutes in their rooms, they'll have a minute or two to touch up and then the rest of the 15 minutes will be spent competing in cleaning another room, like the kitchen, or the family room, dining room, living room, you get the idea...

Consistency is sooo important, in every area really, but right now I'm stressing the need to consistently pick up after ourselves- a habit that I managed to make it through childhood without being forced to learn, a habit that I've struggled through adulthood to try to pick up, probably due to the fact that I never learned this as a child. Some people naturally just want a clean & tidy environment and their brains make the logical leap to doing what is necessary to achieve that- picking up after yourself, and the rest of us want that environment too, we just tend to not make that leap until the stress of the mess gets to be so much that we snap one day with an 'I can't take this anymore! I can't even get across the room without stepping on toys, dirty clothes, and cheerios!', or something like that...

Personal responsibility is really what it's all about. I know now that I was not made to do enough chores, not made to help enough as a child. I had to do the dishes, and I had to sweep and vacuum, and I did it most of the time, grudgingly, under penalty of fines and some yelling, but I never did it with the understanding that it was the right thing to do, the responsible thing to do. It was always something that hopefully somebody else would do, but if not, if I had to do (insert any chore), then ok fine, I'd do it as fast as I could, probably quite carelessly. Or as slow as I could, probably equally as carelessly. Or there were the times when the OCD would overtake me and much of the job may not have gotten done, but that one spot got really, really clean.

Hmmm, and now I see my children tending to act the same way, so we're trying to nip that in the proverbial bud. We're working on making sure our children know that it's not somebody else's job to follow them around and pick up their toys, their books, their plates, their wrappers, their apple cores (yuck!)... It's their responsibility to do these things, and it's my responsibility to teach them (the tough part). Some days it seems like a very big job, but I need to keep at it because I know how hard bad habits are to overcome as an adult, and I want to give my children the best start in life that I can manage. Teaching them this aspect of personal responsibility will have an impact on so many areas of their lives, I'm confident of that. And so, the clean-up-after-yourself on-a-daily-basis Clean Room(s) Challenge will go on!

Enjoying them (and their clean rooms!),
because of Him,



Anonymous Marla said...

you've really got me thinking about this! we need to do something too, but decluttering probably needs to come first.

September 3, 2009 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Duckygirl said...

After reading this I mentioned it to my kids. They literally raced to their rooms and started cleaning! Maybe a consistent competition will work :) Thanks for the idea!!


September 4, 2009 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Just enjoy it!!!

I am tired of the clutter around here too. So many areas that need tackling, so little time, and so little me!

September 5, 2009 at 12:57 AM  
Blogger Catherine Anne said...

I love your blog!

September 11, 2009 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I can identify with soooo much of this! Great post... inspires me to keep at it. :)

Thanks for visiting my blog!

September 11, 2009 at 10:13 PM  

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