Combine career changes, complicated renovations to the house and sprinkle in a brother-in-law-turned-renter into the mix, and you have a recipe for chaos. My house was disorganized, and trying to get the family to organize it and keep it tidy was a losing battle.
Unable to come up with a solution to our problem, I turned to the well reviewed “Organizing from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern for advice.
The audio book was a quick listen but powerful in its message. Morgenstern bases her organizational system on one all Kindergarten classroom use. In the classroom, every activity has its defined place and all objects related to that activity have to be stored in that area. Her system worked to get my house organized, but I need a way to maintain the organization and get people to complete the chores needed to accomplish this goal. Consequently, I came up with an activity inspired by the power and simplicity of Morgenstern’s system.
Like motivating a grade school class, I needed to break through the diversity of the personalities doing the work by integrating teamwork, fairness in the distribution of the chores and make the activity fun and interactive.
Everyone was expected to participate because it was time to introduce my two year old to the responsibilities of household chores.
Therefore, I chose a time of the week where I knew everyone would be home, and too groggy to put up a fight. For us, that time was 10:00 am on Sunday morning.
To prepare for the activity I did the following:
- For the adults, I divided the house work into different chores and wrote them on to folded pieces of paper and placed the slips into a bowl.
- My son was assigned a separate set of chores that took into account his age and attention span. I also, wanted to give him chores that were fun, built his confidence and a sense of responsibility. The chores included …
- brushing the dog
- cleaning up toys
- using the hand vacuum
- coloring a picture for mommy
- Toddler chores were marked with an orange marker so that they were easy to pick out of the bowl.
- For extra incentive, slips that awarded prizes were mixed in with the chores. Prizes included …
- gift cards
- prizes in lieu of work
- certificates that allowed people to trade up chores with someone else
- My son was given slips that allowed him to win …
- coloring books
- small toys
The slips of paper were mixed into a bowl. People drew out chores and prizes until the bowl was empty.
Then, the fun begins.
Every week, one person is responsible to run the game and pick the prizes.
It is hard to motivate a single person and at times impossible to motivate a group of people. Sometimes, going back to basics is the best plan of action.
Set a simple goal that benefits everyone involved, find a time that does not inconvenience the group and make the process fun and interactive. The results can create a foundation where larger and more complicated goals can be achieved in the future.
If anyone else has any activities they use to get their family motivated, please tell us in the comments.