The boys' bedroom has been an increasingly disgusting pigsty for the last few weeks. Initially, I ignored it in hopes that the mess would be sucked into a hole in the time space continuum, never to be seen again. By Saturday, it was apparent that this was not going to happen, and some manual labor was going to be required. I promised myself I would do it Sunday. Then Monday. Today is Tuesday. The room had to be cleaned. I still didn't want to do it. Fortunately, I remembered my friend Jennifer, who is a much more creative parent than I.
Jennifer invented this game for her kids called, "Hidden Temple." Her kids are now savvy enough to realize that it's a tricky way to get them to clean, but mine are not. Woohoo! I had to modify the game a bit so that it's not a direct competition in order to keep Peanut from screaming, stomping, and yelling, "I quit!" after every challenge, but our slightly modified version is still pretty effective.
The kids started at the bottom of the stairs and had to answer a series of age appropriate trivia questions to earn steps forward (toward their bedroom....ooh, so tricky already). Questions were things like: "What is your phone number," or "Spell your name...backwards." Once they reached the top of the stairs, I had a bag of M & M's and a pile of inside out clothes. This was the beginning of the physical challenges. They each had to turn the clothes the right way, strip out of their pajamas, get dressed, and tag my hand. For completing this task, they each received two M & M's.
The next 15 physical challenges got their room picked up in no time, and with no yelling or whining. And I didn't have to lift a finger other than to dole out M & M's at the completion of each challenge. It was a beautiful thing.
Once the room was clean, I still had M & M's in the bag and needed to think of another physical challenge. So, to see just how far we could take Hidden Temple, I had the boys both get wet rags. Once this was accomplished, I put them to work cleaning the Booger Wall.
You know what I'm talking about, right?
It's the wall where your kid wipes all his boogers when he picks his nose while laying in bed at night. Your kid does this, right? Don't tell me your kid puts his boogers on a tissue. Or better yet, yours doesn't even pick his nose. Seriously, don't tell me that because I don't want to hear it. Just nod, and say, "Oh yes, of course, the booger wall. Every child has one of those."
There were a few super crusty boogers that the boys couldn't get off (going to have to get out the paint scraper or some sand paper, I think), but thanks to Hidden Temple, the booger wall is now mostly clean.
As a final prize, both kids got an ice cream sandwich (after washing their hands). So now, I don't have to clean their bedroom, or make them lunch.