There's a little play on words in this title! We actually use our iPhone cameras as to-do pictures instead of lists.
When our house seems to be falling apart at the seams and chaos is in every corner of my house, I find this to be the simplest way to get the kids involved and keep them motivated.
So set your timers…we're going on a tour of my two hour clean up last Saturday. (We usually delete each picture as it's finished, but I made sure they were all saved this time so I could show y'all. You're welcome!)
I start off by carrying Timmy around the house taking pictures of different focus areas that I would like done. I don't worry about the picture being perfect as long as my family can tell where and what I'm talking about. (Some pictures represent something-like a picture of the washer and dryer means to keep it going.)
We all gather around and look through the pictures together, and Abby's usually the first one to “call dibs” on something. I set the timer for twenty minutes, but usually it's ten. The house needs to be finished for Abram's party next weekend and Daddy's home to pitch in.
On this one, I placed Bubzy's clean sheets within the picture so they would know it meant to change the sheets and not just make the bed.
In this picture, one “round” was Josh actually cleaning the sink, while another time one of the kids picked up the stuff on the floor. While Abby might like cleaning the mirror, Abram might like throwing all the dirty clothes in hampers and throwing trash away…while Daddy prefers to use Scrubbing Bubbles on the sink and countertops. The picture might mean different things to different people. (Only Mom can approve the picture as complete before a child deletes it from the choices).
Josh chose to stay with the same theme and completely cleaned the bathroom instead of switching with the timer like the kids really need. He has such a servant's heart in choosing the least desirable chore!
Same idea here: Josh put together the crib while Abram tidied the couch. They saw something different. As a family, we use each of our talents to benefit the whole.
I figured Abby would choose the bed, since she loves making it all pretty, but this time Abram beat her to the punch and snatched it up. I didn't say a word when I passed the finished work and it was at a very obvious slant.
This one got skipped completely, which is totally fine. I put more than enough picture chores in front of them so that they have choices. I make a time goal and we stop when it gets there. That day it was 2 hours.
Usually, I take a picture of the floor if I want it vacuumed.
The picture of the sink, dishwasher, and the countertop we put dirty dishes on means to unload/reload the dishwasher and scrub the sink. I stuck with the kitchen and laundry through most of the two hours.
I remind the kids that the breakfast bar includes the bar stools, too.
This picture represents putting away pantry stuff, cleaning off and wiping down the counters.
Hand wash dishes
One person took this as taking the trash out and another took it as sweeping.
Abram picked up everything in this picture, dusted the alcove shelves and swept the floor. He did awesome! Too bad I'm not including after pics here. I was so proud of him.
Abby kind of adopted the bathroom and it was sparkling by the time she finished.
I have to be careful what I take pictures of, too. I took some of the school closet because I fully intended to go in there and tackle it after the kitchen and laundry were under control. But, when all that was left was the mess in the living room and all the trash created by eating fast food the night before, Abram chose the school closet. He wanted me to come tell him what to do in there. Ugh. I'm sorry, Buddy, but you're just going to have to pick one of the other things. I don't have the time to go show you what exactly I want done in there right now.
There were several choices that could have been done in here–tidy up, dust, vacuum, sweep–but by the end of the two hours we had only tidied up in here. Next time maybe.
Keep the laundry going
Fold and put away this basket of clothes
It was Abby's laundry day
And, not surprisingly, an entire basket of stuff and a full bag of trash came out of there!
Two hours behind us, lots of cleaning up done…now time to enjoy the rest of our Saturday!
So, what do y'all do to get everyone in your family to cooperate willingly? This has been the one that's received the least complaints from my little crew.