Even if they are motivated with an exciting trip or a yummy treat, or Mom just saying “clean up!”, they hate cleaning up.
Often Lizzie has to help motivate the other siblings. She knows the toys in the living room need to be picked up, but she doesn’t want to do it herself. I have seen her use many tactics to get her siblings to clean up.
Lizzie will first come tell me “Evelyn isn’t helping.” She will repeat this until Evelyn is annoyed enough to help. She will then coax Casey and Will, “clean up and we can watch V. This one is amusing because I may not have promised them TV and when I try these tactics, they never work.
One day Lizzie got creative. She tried the color clean-up game. She sat on the couch and gave instructions, “everyone pick up something yellow”. A few moments later, “pick up toys that have blue in them” and proceeded to go through all the colors of the rainbow and then some.
This worked for a few days but everyone lost interest and Lizzie got tired of naming colors.
One Saturday morning, Lizzie came up with a brilliant idea-the Human Clean-up Machine.
We have a tent that the kids play with inside. And this particular day, the tent was part of the mess. Lizzie figured out that if they turned the tent upright and all squished inside, they could shuffle around the room picking up toys.
It was pretty cool, all of them were moving according to Lizzie’s directions picking up toys in the cleaning machine and shuffling back to the toy shelf to put them away.
Sadly, the cleaning machine only worked this one time and Lizzie soon grew resentful for being the only one cleaning, especially when she did not make the mess. We moved the toys out of the living room, into a bedroom and gave all the kids more specific cleaning responsibilities. For the most part, everyone has to clean the mess they made. So if Lizzie doesn’t play with the toys, she doesn’t have to clean. This means the boys have to clean up with no more fun clean up games for Lizzie.
Although when mom needs a hand, I might see what else she comes up with to help pick these toys up off the floor.