09 March 2010

The Cleanup Game 2.0

You likely played it as a child, and if you’re a parent you have probably used it to motivate your own kids at one time or another. There are likely millions of versions, each with unique rules and rewards. Today I will tell you about one that works for me.

My kids are fascinated with electronic games, and their pretend-time play often turns into something like LEGO Star Wars characters battling in far off reaches of the galaxy. Unfortunately, but not surprising, they are far less enthusiastic about cleaning up their messes.

One particularly unenthusiastic day, I was trying (quite unsuccessfully I might add) to get them motivated to clean the playroom. The usual bribes, threats, and daddy-evil-eye only increased the weeping, wailing, and general gnashing of teeth. As a last-ditched attempt,

I announced the beginning of a NEW cleanup game.

Since they were just starting, they were all at level one and would have to work their way up from there. Level one consisted of picking up five toys and putting them away properly. They would then have to return for further instructions. Intrigued, the three oldest ran to complete level one. Independently each would scurry back to report and their eyes would light up as I told them they had now advanced to level two.

“How many toys for level two?” they asked.

“Ten!” I declared.

Eyes-wide they ran off to complete level two. Moments later, three kids ran back and excitedly reported that they had each put away ten toys.

This went on and on with different toy amounts anywhere from 5-15 until the room was clean. Each time their zeal began to wane, I would announce they had reached a special achievement level and had earned the title of “Advanced Toy Cleaner-upper,” then “Expert Toy Cleaner-upper,” and finally “Super-duper Toy Cleaner-upper.”

The only potential downside with inventing a cleanup game that kids actually enjoy is you will likely be asked to play it again in the future – a small price to pay for happy helpers.

This post is linked at RocksInMyDryer.


Leslie said...

This is such a great idea (made even greater because of your cute graphic!). I think my kids would love it. Well, until the tears start because someone isn't winning. But still, I'll have a cleaner house even with the tears!

It Feels Like Chaos said...

I have a 7 year old Nintendo DS fanatic that I am so trying this out on! Thanks for sharing!

Feywriter said...

My son is also a gamer. he LOVES leveling up, so I may have to try this. :-)

Debbie said...

That is so sneaky and so brilliant! I love it! My son is only two, so he isn't quite there yet, but I'm going to keep this in mind. Do you think it works for husbands? JK :)

MB said...

I'm definitely going to have to try that one. how creative!

Julie V. said...

Brilliant and fun idea! I can just see all the little kiddies excited about the game play...keep up the inventiveness!


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