I am a big advocate of finding ways to not be a nag, and getting children to do their cleaning duties has been a big fail in succeeding with this task. Recently I noticed my youngest son working harder and faster to clean if I am helping him and chatting with him. Could it be that easy? Maybe it is variant depending on the child, but if I offer to help Kid clean his room if he helps me with the kitchen, he happily accepts. Not only that, but he works hard. A couple of times he would stand around and talk while I cleaned, but after a little reminder of our deal, he would work diligently again.
This experience made me think about the time I lived with room-mates in my early twenties. Whenever I had to do a mundane task such as organizing my (usually messy) room, I would ask one of them to come in and sit on my bed and keep me company. We would talk and the chore would be far less painful. Sometimes I would invite my musician friends to come over and play for me while I cleaned and I would feed them dinner and make them tea. Either way, it was worth it to have company during such a task.
These days, a few moments alone to clean my room is a pleasure. I had forgotten the way I used to be. Seeing Kid’s response to family cleaning together reminded me of those fond memories with my room-mates sitting on my bed. This has been mostly a positive experience, our house is much cleaner, and we have more time to talk one-on-one.
Kid always enjoys his tidy and zen room more, but struggles with understanding the organization part. I enjoy this time with him, and take pleasure in the fact that I am teaching him a worthwhile lesson. I have known plenty of hoarding, messy adults to know that organization is not a common skill. Why not do it at an early age and get the habits formed? Someday I know he won’t need me to help him, maybe he won’t even want me to. And when he leaves home, maybe he will ask his mates to come over and lend him some company too.