Monday, May 21, 2018

How We Get Our Kids to Clean and What Hasn't Worked

It's almost summer. J gets out of school this week! And with summer coming I feel a much bigger stress about keeping the house clean since everyone is home. Every summer I get this new drive to teach the kids about cleaning and keeping their stuff organized, giving them chores, getting them to help with new chores etc. And it's not an easy thing to do. We have tried lots of different ways to get them to clean up. Since summer is coming and some of you might be like me this way (I hope), I thought I'd talk about all the ways we've tried, what has worked and what has not.

Before we get into all of that, I want to just take a second to say that our house is by no means clean all of the time. We have a lot of days that we get to the end of the day and I just don't have enough energy to care that it's messy and we let the mess stay instead of cleaning it up.  We also have normal kids who do normal kid things and don't honestly love to clean. In fact, the day I took the pictures for this post we had one avoiding the cleaning at all costs, one that had no idea what was going on (V) and one that was throwing a major tantrum because we asked her to clean. And it's not like we asked them on a random day to clean, it was a cleaning day. It's a struggle to get them to clean and that's why I decided to share what isn't working for us along with what is working. So here are the things that we have been trying.

- Starting them young is one thing that I think helps with everything. When they are toddlers they are much more willing to help clean up with you. Getting them in the habit of cleaning up when they are done with something helps them learn it for a lifetime. Do they always stay excited about cleaning up and do it willingly? Nope, absolutely not. But it does help with teaching them that it's important to keep things nice. Did it work? Well, kinda. I did well with this with J, I failed at this with M, I'm working on this with V. Guess which kid complains least about cleaning up? V....but he doesn't really know better haha, so J. J will usually clean up her toys without too much of a fight. It takes me asking them several times to get anything done, but J will clean up most of the time without a huge fight whereas M will pitch a fit every single time.

- We tried a chore chart a couple of months ago. We got an Ipad for Christmas. Before that, we were tablet free and didn't plan on getting one at all because we didn't want to have to worry about the kids begging to be on it or being on it too much. We ended up getting one for church stuff and figured we could use it as leverage for the kids to do their chores and earn 15 minutes of screen time. So I made this chore chart for them to earn it. We filled it up with age-appropriate chores. Making their bed, getting dressed, doing homework, hanging backpacks up, doing a special job for me that I need help with, etc. Once they got all of their things marked off for the day, they could have 15 minutes on the Ipad. Did it work? NOPE. not at all. It worked for one week and then never worked again. I'm sure bribing them with something else would have helped, but my kids are not at all interested in earning iPad time (I'm proud to say). They never even ask to use it. We pull it out for our church stuff, and for special things like when we need to entertain V while getting a haircut, but they don't even care about it.

-Helping them is another thing that we've tried. When we know that the mess has gotten too big we have put some music on and see how much we can get done by the time the music is over. We usually turn on some kind of soundtrack. Right now it's The Greatest Showman soundtrack.  And we all pitch in and clean up. This works mostly. The times when this does not work is when I've spent a lot of time asking them to clean up and they are feeling overwhelmed and I'm feeling frustrated. When that happens we end up fighting more than cleaning. But if I start cleaning this way, before the overwhelmed feeling starts, we can all work together and get it done pretty easily.

- We have turned cleaning into a game. We do this a lot of different ways. One way is to tell each kid to pick up a certain color of toy. J picks up all red, M picks up all green, V picks up all blue... and puts it where it's supposed to go.  Another game is that we hang our little over the door basketball hoop up and tell them "see how many toys you can pick up in the time that it takes the other to make 10 baskets." and then they switch.  We've also made it a race to see who can put their clothes away, make their beds, or put their toys away first. Does it work? Almost every time! Sometimes J gets tired of competition and this won't work. But that's pretty rare. It sometimes takes longer to get it all clean but it gets done.

- We have been teaching the kids about money and letting them earn a little extra money with "jobs". But they can't do any of those jobs until all of their regular chores are done.  So if they are in the mood to earn a little money to save up for something they've been wanting, I just remind them that they want to earn money for a job, they need to do their chores first. This works when they are in the mood for it. And that's totally fine. Now that it's summer and we have a garden going, one of their jobs is to help with picking the fruit and veggies from the little garden, so that will help them to be ready for those jobs more often.

- Reminding them that they have privileges and sometimes those privileges get taken away if they don't do what we have asked them to.  This one makes me feel a little bit like a bad mom sometimes, and I don't think that I'm alone on that, but kids do need to know that some things are not rights that they have.   When we have been asking them to do something and they are refusing in every way, we start taking those privileges away. One example of this is that if they want to play with friends after dinner they have to have homework done and their room cleaned up before they can go back out. If they don't have those things done, they don't get to go play. This is a hard way of doing things and it's honestly exhausting for all people involved. But it does work. The first few times that they realize that they can't go out and play there's usually a big fight and a lot of crying. But eventually it does get cleaned and the crying stops and they learn that next time if they want to play they need to do it before it's too late.

Everybody's family is different. There are different things that work for all of us. Not everything we have tried has worked every time. And the biggest take away here is that if we try to make any kind of chores a fun or, at least, happy experience things get done quicker and easier.

What do you do to help your kids clean up?

What is your least favorite chore?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fast Friday

This has been one busy week! So let's get right to the Fast Friday update!

Last weekend Trevon took the kids to get the truck's tires changed. For some reason, this is something the kids always like going to do with him. So they took the Ipad and watched Planes while they waited.

While they were doing that, I went and got my workout done for the day.

And when they got home they brought me these amazing roses for Mother's day!

Later that day my mom and sisters went to get pedicures done. This is our Mother's day tradition and gift from my mom.

We did our church stuff on Sunday. V looked so handsome in his tie and suspenders.  It didn't last long so it was good we got this slightly blurry picture of him when we did.

For family night on Monday, we took the kids to our high school's all class reunion. They built a new high school and will be slowly tearing ours down. We got to see all of our old teachers and some friends that were there too. It was a lot of fun to show the kids where we met and introduce them to my high school coach!

On Tuesday I helped a friend out with some new equipment he got at his gym for physical therapy. While I was helping him, V sat and played with his cars and bear and the girls were at school.

Wednesday the girls had a makeup gymnastics class. When my sister showed up we realized we were dressed exactly the same. Even down to the shoes.

Thursday M's school had the last day of school/field trip. We went to a petting zoo at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi Utah. M's favorite part was the pony ride. V wouldn't try it. He was pretty tired by then so he was just a little grumpy.

V's favorite part, though, was jumping around in the playhouses.

Then M had her preschool graduation. It made for a busy day but it was a lot of fun. We were all worn out and ready for bed by the time we got done.

My sweet neighbor brought these over to me for mothers day. Chocolate covered frozen strawberries and they are as good as they sound.

And then my soon-to-be sister in law posted these on Facebook and I laughed way too hard at them.

Here's what my running looked like this week:

Saturday: Tempo run --> 3 ish miles. This day didn't get tracked properly so it's a close guess haha.

Sunday: rest day

Monday: At home workout/lots of walking. 

Tuesday: Speed work --> 2.6 miles 

Wednesday: Rest day 

Thursday:  easy run --> 2 miles

I have been so sore for some reason for the last couple of days. I think it's the speed work I did on Tuesday but I'm not really sure. And it's been a really crazy week. So training has not gone as planned but I am glad for the whole 7.5 ish miles that I was able to get in this week. Hopefully, I'll be adding much more to that soon.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

What did your training look like this week? Any missed workouts?