The “Spoonful of Sugar” Approach to Clean-Up Time

March 19, 2012 at 11:45 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Mamma Mia Rea | 1 Comment
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In the classic film “Mary Poppins”, Julie Andrews and her animatronic bird cajole two spoiled kids into cleaning their room with a smile, a song and a little bit of magic.

She made it look so easy.

Although I’m a pretty decent singer, I have neither a magic purse or a jolly sidekick like Dick Van Dyke to psyche my kids up about clean-up time, which is why I have to remind my kids about 47,000 times each evening to clean up the living room before the toys start getting put away…maybe. I have, however, a few tricks up my sleeve which are, in fact, inspired by our favorite magical nanny.

The “Spoonful of Sugar” approach is a brilliant one.  Games are fun. Cleaning up is not. So, if the job becomes a game, you’ve got willing participants. For the younger ones, have them count how many toys they can put in their toy box. See if they can put in one more than the night before. Older kids can race to see who can put more toys away first (ordinarily, I’m not big on having kids compete with each other, but once in a while, you can make it work to your advantage). You can also designate certain jobs for certain kids, depending on what their preferences are (the painter gets to put the art supplies away, the tallest gets to put the puzzles on the shelf, the big reader gets to organize the library). And, of course, there’s always bribery, which I succumb to more often than I’d like to admit.

Once in a while, if you feel like you’re at your wits’ end by evening time, maybe getting the kids to clean-up is not worth the hassle. I promise you that no one from House and Garden is going to come barging in and brand you as the “Worst Homemaker in History”. At the end of the day, a happy home is more important than a perfectly tidy one.

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  1. […] A Spoonful of Sugar Meet The Writer Rea M. Bochner is a professional writer whose work has appeared on dozens of websites and print publications. She has also written professional and advertising materials for a variety of businesses, including: transportation companies, pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle websites, parenting blogs, private schools, event planners and many more. Rea's work was recently published in an anthology of articles entitled "Like Water on a Rock" by Artscroll Press, and is currently writing a memoir entitled "A Glad Mother of Children". Rea Lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband Josh, her sons Yonah and Akiva, and her cat, Wasabi. Read Full Bio […]

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