March of Tools: Timing strawberry


My biggest conflict in my job as a stay at home mom is the battle between getting housework done and spending time with my kids. I've tried many many different tricks to get the Peanut to work with me on cleaning chores. I can have her be my "helper", which does work to a point but usually tries my patience. I can give her tasks of her own, but they usually need to be redone afterwards. The trickiest part of it all is keeping my patience through the million and one "Are we done yet?"

So I "invented" the timing strawberry. I told the Peanut that before we worked on her art project request, we had to clean the house for a little while. I set the strawberry for the designated time slot and let her hear the old fashioned timer ticking it makes. I warned her it would ring really loud like a bell (kind of obnoxious, actually) and that we would clean until the bell rang. If I heard her ask to stop once before the bell rang, we couldn't work on her art project.

It worked like a charm!! I got the kitchen clean, loaded the dishwasher, picked up  miscellaneous clutter from our entry way and helped the Peanut re-sort and organize all her toys from the living room. She thought it was all one big game and couldn't wait to show daddy "mommy's timing strawberry" when he got home that night. 

I guess it really is all about the presentation! Best tool discovery I've had in a long time.

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