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Friday, May 11, 2012

Fridays Mean War

Our house battles it out every Friday and each member of the family looks forward to the event.  We call it Zone Wars, based loosely on FlyLady's cleaning zones.  My kids spend Monday through Thursday cleaning their personal zones (Monday - bed, Tuesday - floor, Wednesday - dresser, Thursday - school area).  On Friday, we attack the house with Zone Wars.  Here's the battle plan:

1.  I make a list on the white board of all of the tasks that need to be accomplished.  The length of the list is determined by the amount of time we have, what the week has been like, and what is coming up.  For example, if it has been a crazy week or we are expecting company, the list will be more detailed.  If we've done a really good job of keeping up with things through the week, it will be a shorter list.  Another thing I keep in mind is the length of time it will take to complete a task.  I try to break big tasks up into smaller tasks that can be completed quicker.  The ideal task is 3-5 minutes long so rather than writing "clean the living room,"  I will write "pick up books," "dust the living room," and "vacuum the living room."

2.  This step varies from week to week.  Here are two of our more common methods:
  • Divide into teams.  Each team chooses one task to complete.  The timer is set for 5 minutes and each team hurries to complte their task.  Points are awarded to each team according to how well each task was completed.
  • Divide into teams that switch after each task.  The timer is set for 5 minutes and each team hurries to complete their task.  Points are awarded individually according to how well each task was completed.
  • Attack the tasks as individuals.  Rather than setting a timer for each task, we set an overall time limit.  As a person completes a task, he/she initials it and chooses another task.  Points are awarded individually according to how well each task was completed.  As needed, teams are formed and both people get points for those tasks.
While the kids work on their tasks, I alternate between cheerleader, coach, and teammate as necessary.  When tasks are completed, I judge the work and award points.

3. After the Zone Wars are over, we go to the score board.  Sometimes everyone gets a prize if they meet a minimum number of points and sometimes there are four prizes awarded in order of the points earned.  It depends on what I think will motivate everyone to participate that day.

We have tried several methods to teaching the children to care for our home and this has worked best.  I appreciate that I am not the only one trying to get it all done.  Our kids love the feeling of accomplishment when they have worked hard and see a clean house.  They also love their prizes (tonight's prize package is movies and ice cream for anyone with 20 points).  My husband loves coming home to a clean house and a happy family.

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