I admit, I’m not the strictest of parents. While I don’t put up with a lot of whining, I have not made a firm stance against messes. I was a kid once, I know that messes are part of playtime. Of course, I’m a bit of a slob myself, and admit that I don’t necessarily have the urges to clean constantly.
As a result, neither of my boys likes to clean up much and I usually have to fight with them to clean up after themselves. We’ll have a couple of good days where they’ll pick up as they play, and then forget the rules and things get messy again.
However, I’ve been trying to get the boys to help more. They’re four and six, and when I was finally able to get the Little Kidlet to join in when I was cleaning I knew that I needed to make them pull their weight a little bit.
So I made a chart. Where I could draw stars on it, and when they got up to 10 stars they could pick a prize from our treasure box. It has Hot Wheels, pencils, stickers. Nothing expensive, but definitely fun.
We weren’t making much headway… but then I got to take Sunday off for my birthday. TheBoy and I went out (more on that another day), but when I came home, I was told that the boys both earned stars for cleaning. Not just their toys, but their bedroom as well.
The next morning, the Oldest Kidlet made his bed. Today, both of them made their bed! Weirdly, they didn’t insist that I immediately give them a star for doing this… I know I make a lot of references to the looking glass, but today I definitely feel like I’ve gone through the Looking Glass.