The Fun Kind of Cleaning

We were playing “The Cleaning Game” at my house.

This involves me setting the timer on my iPhone for 10 minutes. For 10 minutes, there is only playing – no cleaning whatsoever. It is important to start with a playing segment. When the alarm rings I start the timer again. For 10 minutes there is fast cleaning. We get as much accomplished as we can in 10 minutes.

Sometimes we do it in 20 minute increments, if the house is really trashed we’ll do 20 minutes clean, 10 minutes play. We do this over and over until either the house is clean or we get distracted.

Generally it is the latter.

Either way, we were playing The Cleaning Game today and I was doing dishes for my 10 minutes when Ian came into the kitchen crying.

“Claudia gets to do all of the fun cleaning.”

“No cleaning is fun.” I said, “I mean, what kind of cleaning is fun cleaning?”

“She gets to clean the bathroom!”

“And you think cleaning the bathroom is fun cleaning?”

He nodded.

“I’ll tell you what,” I said “If you do a really, really good job on the living room and getting all of your toys out of the hallway I will let you clean my bathroom.”

And he said “Yes!” and did that thing with where you make a fist and pull your elbow to your hip – like he just scored a touchdown.

Win button

It doesn’t seem to happen that often lately, but for today everybody wins.

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  1. This is a way better game than what I grew up with. We had to play “What’sNextMom” in which mom gave us a task, and as soon as it was done we were supposed to RUN and ask “What’s NEXT, Mom?” guess what – not fun.

  2. Whoa. I suddenly cannot WAIT until my kid is 6. That’s awesome.

  3. You are awesome. I am so going to try this.

  4. smart aleck says:

    You are my hero…
    Do you think this would work for my grown “child” if I substituted grown up “play time” in place of kid appropriate play?

  5. Can you send him to my house?

  6. hahaha 😀 if you have a lack of bathrooms I can offer you one or two 😛 this is very smart idea. I’ll try it

  7. You are the best mom in the world.

  8. merseydotes says:

    You are a genius. I like that game and may steal it.

    The only trick I have is to pick a random number and say, “Okay, let’s see how fast you can put away 12 things in your room.” Surprisingly, it works and Petunia often gets on a roll and fires back, “I bet I can do 15!” And I act shocked and a little worried that she’s overreaching and say, “No way – are you sure?” And it works. But I think I like your game better.

  9. This is an awesome idea! I wonder if R will fall for it.

  10. I am totally playing this game this weekend. If my kids won’t clean the bathroom, I’m coming to steal yours.

  11. Genius move. Well played. I wonder if I can get my daughter to grade papers for me with a similar game.

    P.S. I just stole that Win button. Expect to see it on my blog soon. Love it.

  12. Dude, that game is GENIUS!

    My daughter (9) LOVES cleaning the bathroom (especially the toilet)…WTF is that about? She gets pissed if she finds out I did it. Apparently I stole her fun.

  13. OMG You are the smartest woman in the world. That is the most genius use of the iPhone I have ever heard! Brill!

  14. Sweet!

    The iPhone idea is great — of course, my kids would insist on playing ON the iPhone for each 10 minute segment. (Ugh.)

  15. My daughter ALWAYS thinks the cleaning I am doing is the fun cleaning. Then we switch and the ‘fun’ wears off real quick :)

  16. Apryl's Antics says:

    I think it might be too late for me, but I’m going to try something like this anyway. Brilliant!

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