There’s nothing quite like a freshened story from the vista of the memory; reminiscing over the activity of a bygone era. This one that follows inspired a bout of glowing and God-thanked nostalgia.
We know we’ve hit on something with our kids when we achieve something we need to do—like cleaning the bedrooms up—very easily and with their full cooperation, because we’ve made something laborious quite ingeniously fun.
The Discovery – A Stroke of Chance
I’m recalling a lovely time over ten years ago now when my children were of pre-school and early-primary aged.
I’d go into one of their bedrooms where they’d been playing and there would be toys strewn everywhere; the challenge then was to clean it all up.
As a parent, I never felt this was my job—but supervision and motivation I was charged with.
One day I hit on the idea to make a game of it. Well, we never looked back. Soon I discovered, however, that every game had to end in a tie, as the competition was so intense one would invariably become dejected in observing the other winning. At times this was an object lesson to the dejected one; at other times an object lesson, a.k.a. a ‘coaching moment,’ wasn’t beneficial—parents, I’m sure, will understand.
The ‘Clean-Up Game’
This game’s very simple. One child is nominated to pick up the dolls and put them away; the other child is nominated to pick up the doll’s clothes and put them away. If there’s a third or more children, they’re given another task. The game continues until all the toys are back in place and the room is up to par.
Once the actual parameters of the micro-task are decided—and they need to be very fair and understood (this is also a game enhancing communication)—then the parent is able to count them down, “Ready, set, GO!”
And literally, “OFF” they go.
They’ll scamper to get the advantage over the other sibling(s). When they’ve finished they need to call out, “Finished!” so that the parent can verify their task’s actually complete. Of course, safety needs to be stressed as rushing about can be hazardous; we don’t want the fun abruptly halted for blood, bruises or tears!
The Real Winners
With these sorts of family activities the whole family wins.
It’s fun, it gets the job done and we’ll be surprised how much they’ll want to play it, even when we’re not in the mood for it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.