22 December 2011

When did we lose the need to make it fun?

There is a common bit of parenting wisdom that says a way to get your kids to do their chores is to make it fun.  Make picking up toys a race with a prize at the end. Turn on music while cleaning and dance while you work. Call out a piece of the table setting and have the kids set the table with that piece as quickly as possible.  Anything to turn it into a fun game, which makes your kids WANT to help.

But when did we, as adults, stop thinking about making our chores fun?  When did chores become a chore, something that needed to be done regardless of how we feel about them?  When did the drudgery begin?  And why do we need it to continue?

I, for one, am not going to do chores for chores sake any longer.  No longer will I force myself to fold laundry with an aching back, or lug heavy furniture out of the way so I can vacuum it.  No longer will I be an automaton as I load dishes in the dishwasher or clean up after the kids have gone to bed.

But Amber, I hear some of you say, won't that result in even MORE chaos than you already have?  I mean... you've always had problems with housekeeping...

True.  Very true.  But part of the reason that I have problems with housekeeping is that it's not enjoyable.  The computer calls to me far more loudly than the load of laundry waiting to be folded.  And more often than not, the computer wins.  But I'm not giving up on chores all together, planning on living in ever increasing squalor. No, I'm changing how I clean, not if I clean.  I'm not going to do chores for chores sake but do them because I can make them fun, like I do for my boys.

I've been partway there for awhile, listening to audio books when I clean.  But that isn't as feasible when the boys are around (since I need to listen for the crashes that tell me that they've gotten into something else that they weren't supposed to).  But I need other ideas, other ways to make things fun.

When cleaning the living room, I'm going to put music on and dance while I clean.  When sorting and organizing, I'm going to make a game to see how many of each item I have.  I'm going to bring the kids into things more regularly.

2012 will be the year of fun.

So now I ask you, gentle readers, how do you make the everyday chores fun?  Because I'm always up for new ideas.