This weekend we have begun a new experiment with the kids. After reading the book Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, We have slowly been transitioning into testing this theory in our own way.
It began this weekend with possibly one of our most needed areas to clean...The CAR! It was a nightmare...truly. I can not remember when the last time it was actually cleaned thoroughly on the inside. If the clutter wasn't enough, we even had a family of moths living in there. I was kind of hoping to have before and after pictures, but I think I would have been embarrassed to post the before picture.
So all the baby seats came out, then all the car seats came out(not the front) and the cleaning fest began. The goal of this task was to complete the car before too much of the day had passed so that they could still have time to do something fun...it was Saturday after all. The clutter was first meticulously picked from the back of the van; with the seats removed there was no excuse for missing any little bit and saying it couldn't be seen. Then all the brackets were removed from the bars that hold the seats in place. they were soaked in a bucket and scrubbed with a toothbrush/scrub brush until they were clean. Noah cleaned out each area that held the seat latches, they actually had begun to collect its own layer of compost I think a seed would have grown. When all of this was done the car was vacuumed, cleaned with a carpet steamer, and the whole car was wiped down with a towel and the windows were washed. All of the seats were vacuumed, steamed, and left out in the sun to dry. The baby car seats were stripped of all cloth covering and washed and the seats were scrubbed until every corner containing food was cleaned...eeww, gross, kids are messy, and that is all I am going to say about that. Matt did a great job getting the kids motivated and working hard. It actually took most of the day and the seats didn't get put back in the car until later in the evening, but on a whole everyone pitched in and did some of the work and actually enjoyed parts of helping out and accomplishing the task....and bonus! we have a clean neat clutter-free van that smells better and looks great!
This was the beginning...last night we told them that from now on their beds must be made, and the floors in their room must remain free from stuff. They will have a morning check and if they forgot or choose not to do it they will be losing their monetary award for the day. we will be setting up a jar in their rooms with money for each day of the month-not sure how much yet-and everyday they have the opportunity to keep it by having the task complete. We discussed it with them last night and although they were not jumping for joy excited, they agreed to comply. My hope is that is spills over into other areas in the house eventually...we will see.
The deal with this experiment is that Matt and I are also included and will have to hold to the same rules as the kids, so this will be a wonderful time to start removing all that extra clutter and overflow that has accumulated in our room too.
I hope that by doing these experiments and tasks we are able to teach our children that work and service are not bad words, and situations to avoid in life; that we will be able to equip our children with a true sense of accomplishment, independence, and the knowledge, ability, and the security to know that they can handle the things in life that come their way and that they do not need to rely on someone to do it for them. That in doing these tasks they learn the importance of service and the love of serving others whether it be their family or people around them. And a big reason for me also is that doing things that they may not prefer to do is still important because sometimes we need to do things we don't necessarily like to do in life to achieve a place that we want to be.