04 January 2013

Cleaning House ... A New Adventure

I've tried for years to get my kids to do chores and keep their rooms clean.  No amount of money promised, begging, pleading, or threat-making has resulted in any success.

Back in November I read Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma.  While I didn't agree with the entire book, nor could I financially afford to do as the author did in her experiment, I did gain quite a bit of insight into all the skills I really need to be equipping my children with (and thought of plenty more not mentioned in the book).  I tried desperately to get my own version of the experiment underway at the beginning of December, but my troops remained unmotivated and I had too much on my plate at the time put up much of a fight.  I did make it clear, however, that January 1st marked the start of our adventure with the methodology described in Cleaning House.

For this month - January - I am focusing on my kids keeping their rooms clean and orderly, keeping their belongings picked up from around the house daily, and making their beds each morning.  Just as in the experiment in the book, my kids have the ability to earn, or lose, a set amount of money/allowance each day based upon their performance.  As an added twist, since it's my house and I am certainly entitled to make my own rules, my kids must also be polite to one another or they risk losing their allowance for the day.  They found out on day one I meant business with this rule.  When our homeschool year begins again in a few days after the close of our winter break, they must also have all their work completed for the week before the next week begins or they lose a set amount of their allowance that has been earned.  That may seem unfair or harsh, but it's a necessary evil with my teen at this point.

In the fury of getting their rooms cleaned up and prepared for the beginning of this month - and believe me, that was quite the undertaking with the state of how things were - my youngest constructed this "desk" in his room.......

He declared he wanted a place where he can go draw without having to do so on the dining room table or spread out on the floor somewhere, so he made his own using one of his toy castles, a 3-drawer storage unit, and a shelf that was removed long ago from a piece of our furniture.  He equipped himself with pencils (held in an empty peanut butter jar), paper, and a storage box full of colored pencils.  I'm proud of his ingenuity!

So far, so good with this experiment.  We'll see where it leads.

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