A few weeks ago, right after having a lot of family over for a long visit, as he was leaving for work, my husband, Nate, begged me to NOT clean the house. As I guffawed at this remark and kind of looked at the messes in each room and the large piles of laundry, he came back to me and said: "Really, please don't clean the house today. I want to use the messy house as an object lesson for our family night tonight."
Ever the teacher, Nate is always looking for ways to teach our children how to be better (though in the case of our house, we all could use help in keeping it tidy!).
Just about every Monday evening, our family gets together to have a lesson. Sometimes it's spiritual in nature, sometimes it's learning how to treat friends, other times it is just getting together to play a game or go on an outing. Usually we start out with a prayer, sometimes a scripture, we usually sing a song (because we all enjoy singing) and almost always play a game or watch a short video (this particular Monday it was music videos by "OkGo"). You get the idea.
Instruction on how to lead music.
Then Nate and I talked about how temples are peaceful partially because they are clean and neat and everything has a place.
We took a tour of our own home, quietly, no-one was to speak as we went to each and every room. Then we ended back in the living room again.
So, we made a goal to, together, clean it for five minutes each night. For the first many days, we took about five minutes in each room. This is separate from their regular, daily cleaning jobs.
|Keeping the house clean for a week = supper at a place of their choice. This was their choice, The Dawg House Grill.|
We started this challenge on March 30th. And we did so great! ...for two and a half weeks. But currently we are in the process of moving and the packing and sorting has taken it's toll.
So, when we missed a night last Friday (my dad was also visiting from out of state that night), the agreement was that we had to start over. So, here we are on day five of the start over.
We are determined to make this a habit!
Some things we've learned:
- The kids sometimes groan when it's time to clean, but most of the time they are the ones to remind us. Positive reinforcement works wonders people! aka: rewards
- Let the kids help decide when to tidy. One of my kids, the morning bird, wants to do her "five minutes" right after school so she can go to bed (and not be grouchy).
- Also include the kids in determining what their positive reinforcement will be.
- Work with the children so they can see that it truly is a family goal. We've found that working together as a family can be fun (especially when you listen to music and make it game-like).
- It's very hard to reach goals, but it's so very rewarding when you're able to complete one! Taking the kids to The Dawg House Grill was such a small thing yet they loved every minute of it: being with mom and dad, having delicious food, trying out a new place, and who wouldn't love the picture of the gigantic purple and yellow bedecked bulldog?!