Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Musical Cleaning Edition

My girls, much like their mother, do NOT love to clean. In fact, until recently, the simple request to clean up their messes in the playroom were met with wailing, crying, and general shrieks of horror. Not anymore, my friends! I have found the secret to getting these girls to clean up with a big huge smile on their face!

For Easter, my girls got the Enchanted DVD. They LOVED it and, in particular, loved the part where the princess cleans up the apartment with her animal friends while singing the "Happy Working Song." If you haven't seen the movie, it is one of the funniest parts in the movie and the song, amazingly enough, is one of those fun kid's movie songs that doesn't really grate on your nerves after being played 3 dozen times.

So, anyways, back to the "Works For Me" part. Soon after Easter I discovered that if I play the song my girls will actually push me out of the playroom and clean it up themselves while pretending to be the princesses. They imagine a whole scene with forest animals (or sewer rats and cockroaches - if you've seen the movie you know what I mean). It works like a charm. Truly, we have not had a dirty playroom since seeing that movie. I don't even have to ask them to clean anymore. Granted, it sometimes means the song loops for about 15 minutes but I could care less when I come back to a spotless playroom and two happy non-screaming kids.

Since this song may not work for everyone and seems to only work when the movie is a hit with the kids, here are some other ideas to help kids love cleaning up:

1. Music, music, music! Go beyond the "Clean-up" song and try some more lively songs that inspire the kids to dance while they clean. Not only do they get the job done faster, but they burn energy in the process.

2. Make it a game. My girls love to play Cinderella and ask me to pretend to be the wicked step-mother and give them "orders" like Cinderella had. I have found, "Please clean up your coloring books and crayons" does not work nearly as well as, "Cinderella! You must clean up those crayons and coloring books before you can go to the ball!" It sounds silly, but when they think it is part of pretend play it takes on a whole new dimension.

3. Make it a race. See who can clean up the fastest. Having a race to clean up Barbie clothes makes it a fun activity and in the end since the room is clean everyone is a winner. Have a small prize for everyone (we use organic sugar-free lollipops) and the whole thing goes happily.

Remember what Mary Poppins said? A spoonful of organic sugar free sweetness makes the medicine go down. Or something like that...

So, now you know what works for me. Go check out what works for other cool people at Rocks in My Dryer!


Ellen said...

I just had to read your tip. Those are some great ideas. I usually bribe with a snack, but adding music sounds like a lot of fun. Two of my daughters are really into princesses.

jen said...

Thanks! Glad you liked the tip! It sure has made life more fun here at our house. Loved your website! We are just beginning the whole homeschool journey and there was so much helpful info on there!

Blue Castle said...

Great idea! :) I will have to try it with my boys today.

kellymac said...

I if go buy the DVD and a gross of organic sugar-free candy, can I borrow your kids for a couple of days to clean my apartment? ;-)

tal said...

What weekend do you want them kellymac? lol

kellymac said... and my big mouth! :)

Michie said...

I think that's cute that they like to clean up like Cinderella! I think some of your tips are good for adults too. Cleaning to music and the promise of a lollipop at the end doesn't sound too bad to me either! LOL

Amy said...

My daughter loves the movie, too, and has been singing songs from it for days. I never thought to use that to my advantage, though. Thanks for the great tip!