Boy, have I stumbled onto something. The perfect way to keep my kids from fighting and complaining about boredom this summer. Take note, because not only will your kids get along, but your house will be ready for the Home Tour.
We’re about to go for a walk, but the kids are sniping and griping. In my frustration – and dread that the whole summer’s going to be like this – I start cleaning my room.
And then it hits me. If I’m going to start cleaning every time they argue, why don’t I just get them to start cleaning every time they argue. We might actually accomplish something around here.
So I announce that since they’d rather bicker inside than play outside, they’re going to clean out the school cabinet while they do it.
With their jaws dropped, they stare as I pull out a year’s worth of artwork and school projects and dump it on the dining room table. Start making piles, I say. And quietly, they sift through the rubble, as I review the rules that I make up as I go along.
It works like this: If you fight or complain about being bored, I’ll point you to an area of the house that needs to be cleaned or purged. We work until it’s done.
You are welcomed – even encouraged – to gripe, groan, grumble, quarrel, quibble and squabble, as long as you have a “trash pile” and a “save pile” that grow by the minute.
You aren’t allowed to touch each other. Anyone making physical contact will have to learn how to operate the washer/dryer. And how to fold towels.
Once we’re done, we will resume our summer activities. But should a new complaint emerge, or another altercation erupt, we’ll go to the playroom and start cleaning out the game closet.
Keep it up, and we’ll tackle the art bins, then the bookshelves, both toy chests, your closets, all the junk drawers, and then the shed outside.
Assuming that only gets us to July – next, we’ll clean out the pantry, match the Tupperware lids to their mates, group the utensils, locate the kitchen scissors, then on to the freezer, where we’ll combine all the bags of frozen chicken nuggets.
That should take us to August – at which point we could polish all the silver. Maybe make a teacup and saucer display. And though I’ve never had ironed sheets before, this might be a good time to teach the oldest how to use the iron, and iron all the bedding.
And then it’ll be time for school to start. Maybe we will have spent the entire summer at the pool. But then again, maybe my house will have been featured in Architectural Digest.