Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kid Zones = Clean Rooms

First off this is not an original idea. I got if from a Currclick freebie from years ago: Steps to Successful Kid Chores by Wendy Young.

A few weekends ago, the boys' rooms were messes.  My plan had been to help the boys clean up for a little bit, then go on with our day.  But it turned into s.i.x. h.o.u.r.s. of frustration (that is putting it mildly).  Their rooms got cleaned, but it wasn't pretty.

The boys learned from this experience, however:  Never let this happen again!

To that end, we have a new system in place.  It has been working for about 3 weeks with more success than not.

The boys' rooms (L and L share a room) are divided into five zones:  closet, dresser/chests, bookshelf, toy drawers and under the bed.  Each weekday, they are responsible for that zone's cleanliness.  Daily, they are responsible for keeping their clothes put away (in their laundry basket or in their drawers), their beds made, and their floor picked up.

My genius idea revolved around the definition of "clean."  In a Clinton-esque fashion, "clean" meant something different depending on who was using the word. Being The Mom, my definition undoubtedly outweighs any other attempt at defining the word.

Even though the boys' knew that my definition rules the house, they still had a hard time achieving my definition. (Lest you think I'm a slave driver, I'm really not.  They can keep their prized possessions on their dresser, desk, etc;  it just can't be in a pile and has to lay there neatly.) 

I took advantage of our all-day Saturday cleaning and -- once everything was done and passed inspection -- I took pictures of each zone in the rooms.  I got the pictures developed, laminated and whole punched them, and they now hang nicely on the kitchen chalkboard.  We now have a documented standard they must try to achieve.  Often, one of the boys (who will remain nameless) will reply affirmatively that he has cleaned his zone.  I'll calmly walk over to the photos, find the picture, and say, "does it look like this?"  Sometimes I'll get a "yea" and sometimes, his little feet will scurry up to "check."

I must say, I'm much calmer about their rooms with this system.  It isn't perfect and we still have some days when we don't get to that zone because of appointments or field trips or whatever, but I believe it has helped the boys to attack their room in manageable chunks.  And, they have accountability and a way to self-check. 

1 comment:

Elinette said...

I gave your blog an award. Check it out on my blog. :)