I am still having trouble with the boys and cleaning up around the house. I still feel as if I have no currency whatsoever, negative or positive, to get my kids to help. My voice is still apparently a different frequency than what my boys can actually hear. But, we're working on it.
One thing I decided to try was to ask more often for help with smaller tasks. Instead of waiting until the end of the day (when we're feeling grumpy) to clean their mess from all day, I choose one small part of the mess and ask them to clean just that. Then they may continue playing. Sometimes this helps, sometimes not at all. Yesterday morning I handed them a box and told them to fill it up with every book, magazine, card and piece of paper that littered the floor in their room, the hall and the nursery. Not such a big deal, right? I went downstairs and cleaned part of the kitchen.
I came back upstairs to this:
Which was way worse than it had been to begin with. And there'd been no effort to pick up the papers or books. So then the kids needed to tidy up the mess they'd just made, and still collect all the papers, magazines and books. We did finally get it all done, but believe it or not the mess got worse before it got better. (Littleman decided to rearrange the furniture, too.) It literally took all day.
From yesterday's experience and the suggestions I've seen, I think my main problem is that I am expecting the kids to follow through on a cleaning activity when I am not directly supervising. I have this ridiculous idea in my head that I might actually be able to clean other areas of the house, or take care of Babyman, while the kids complete an assigned task. Apparently this is where I am expecting too much.
For some of the excellent tips I've received, check out the comments to my earlier post Negative Consequences. Also, I saw a wonderful list of 20 Alternatives to Punishment on Alicia's blog, A Magical Childhood. I will continue experimenting to see what finally works for us- I'm figuring out that while none of these great tips works for us on its own, I might be able to find a magic combination of them (along with an adjustment of my expectations) that will help us work together to keep the house cleaner!
2 days ago