Chores That Do Themselves
Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Playful parenting can make chores a whole lot easier. Chores can be a dirty word in a household. Children usually can't stand to do them and the parents usually hate giving constant reminders. It's an endless tug-of-war that could end up in battles.
When I was growing up I always wondered why I couldn't do as some cartoon characters did on T.V. I liked to see them skate across a sudsy floor. It looked like so much fun! I had to do the dreary job of sticking the mop in the bucket, wringing it out and then pushing it across the floor (multiple times over that one stubborn spot too).
My own children have chores. They seem to always need encouragement and promptings to help out though. The perfect scenario would be to bring both my and my children's dreams together and make it work for us.
Making Dreams A Reality
I can see it all now. We'll get the bucket with sudsy water and about four bristle brushes. I could strap the brushes on their feet and hands and they can go to town sliding all over the linoleum and giving a good scrub at the same time! I figure, if I use four brushes instead of just two for their feet, they can avoid tailbone injuries (although I guess nose injuries would be quite common).
With that type of workout, they'd no doubt LOVE to clean the floor. I wouldn't have to nag at all and they'd get to brag to their friends about how fun their chores are.
Laundry Fun: Basketball/Slingshot/Race
Another area where families could use fewer negative consequences and more playfulness is in the common chore of cleaning your room. I know in my household it seems like a cleaning from me to straighten things out in my childrens' closets doesn't last more than 24 hours. I'll walk in the next day after a cleaning and think to myself, 'Didn't I just come in here? Haven't I picked this up already??!!' The situation just begs for me to lose my calm demeanor and go off!
Now, if we could make the chore of cleaning up more fun, like say a basketball game to crown the week's fastest closet cleaner (complete with perks), then I could see our children taking the initiative. No longer would I have to beg and plead, they'd actually be begging me to do the work (kinda like that magic activity that makes a home schooling subject come to life for your children. Once they get a taste, they clamor for more!)
We can set up the laundry basket at one end of the room. One child would be the shooter, another can be defense. Friendly competition would ensue as one child tries to stop the other from getting an article of clothing in the laundry basket! It would be an instant hit!
Or perhaps a giant slingshot could be constructed to launch the clothes at the basket. As a home schooling Mom, I'd also use that as a history, science and math lesson rolled up into one!
Another laundry game could be a race. Winner gets some coveted prize while the room gets cleaned up, lickety-split. Each contestant would race around the room to pick up every piece of clothing they can and depositing it in the basket. The children can race against each other or themselves and the clock. Parents or younger siblings can cheer them on and everyone would enjoy themselves. I can imagine myself jumping for joy with the winner as I wave my green or checkered flag!
Race For The Zzz's
One thing I haven't yet figured out is how to put a roomful of children to sleep with minimal fuss. Reading stories just seem to invigorate their minds even after a full day of brainstorming. Talking things out is good for the soul, but hasn't proved to be a quick sleep solution for us. Quite the opposite, we usually end up talking for hours!
One playful way to cut the bedtime routine short would be another race, only this time the winner doesn't know it until the next day! We could have a special Breakfast For The Champion set up to reward the quickest sleeper. It'd be more work for me, but I'd be okay with it seeing as I got a full night's sleep with everyone crashing early. I think that could work. We'd finally be able to pack up these bags under our eyes for sure!
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What Other Visitors Have Said
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Great ideas... Not rated yet
Great ideas... although I must say, as someone who sprained a wrist skating on the kitchen floor, the thought terrifies me!!
I love the ideas here, but …
Love it! Not rated yet
I like the laundry slingshot!
We've used the race to sleep with our co-sleeping daughter. She went for it for about a week. We were so pleased with ourselves. …
Sports chores Not rated yet
Your sports ideas for room clean-up are a hoot - I'm going to have to suggest some of those to Kieran the next time we pick up toys (although I won't want …
great! Not rated yet
I love the floor cleaning idea! so Pippy Longstocking:-)
Let us know how it goes! Not rated yet
They do sound like fun ideas and I'd love to know how they end up working. When you can make things into games or even just work together it seems to …
Oh, man, those are hilarious! Not rated yet
I think even I would enjoy chores if we instituted some of these ideas. I remember wanting to skate on a bubbly floor, too! :) You're going to have to …
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Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon September 13 with all the carnival links.)
Back to Natural Parenting Carnival
- On being a more playful parent — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how the Playful Parenting book impacted her.
- Parenting a toddler through play — Alicia at I Found My Feet lists some examples of how she uses play to parent through everyday tasks and challenges.
- Splashing in Puddles — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how she learned to get dirty and have fun with her little boy.
- Say Please — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life explains how they taught their son manners by "play," showing that actions speak louder than words.
- No Nanny Needed — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
- I'll Run Away With Gypsies — Nikalee at Spotted Pandemonium maneuvers physical and emotional obstacles while spinning playful tales, jumping through hoops, and inspiring the kids to clean the living room.
- A Promise To My Daughter — Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure writes a poem for her daughter promising to use play instead of anger when facing difficult situations.
- Parenting Through Play — Not Always Easy But Always Rewarding — Amy at Peace4Parents discusses how play hasn't always come easily to her, the power of appreciative observation, and how her family learns together through play.
- Imagination Plays a Role in Our Parenting — Tree at Mom Grooves shares how parents can use play to set the foundation for communication and understanding.
- A Box of Crayons — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction talks about how a simple box of crayons has become a wonderful parenting and teaching tool.
- The Essential Art of Play — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her favorite lessons available for young ones through play.
- The Art of Distraction — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a list of distracting alternatives to harsh punishments in tough parenting situations.
- Grace and Courtesy Games at Home or School — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has ideas for grace and courtesy games that help you encourage courteous behavior without reprimanding your child.
- I am woman, hear me roar! — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares how one simple sound can diffuse an argument in an instant.
- Getting Cooperation Through Play — Amyables at Toddler In Tow talks about respecting the worldview of a preschooler by using play to encourage connection and cooperation.
- Playful Parenting = Extra Energy?? — Momma Jorje didn't think she had the energy for playful parenting. See what she was surprised to learn…
- Dance Party Parenting — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen learned how to be the parent her children need through play.
- Wrestling Saved My Life — Wrestling is as vital to her son's well-being as babywearing once was, finds Hannah at Wild Parenting.
- Parenting through play — By playing with her children, Tara from MUMmedia is given amazing opportunites to teach, train and equip her children for life.
- Parenting Through Play Starts in Infancy — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Issa from LoveLiveGrow shares that though she only has a 3-month-old, playful parenting has already started.
- Play Before Sleep — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how playing and singing with her son before he falls asleep helps calm her frustrations that tend to arise at night.
- Playful Parenting — Or 5 Lessons My Son Has Taught Me About Parenting Through Play — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama has learned to be a better parent by following her toddler's lead in play.
- Hurry up! Hurry up! I mean it! Quack, quack, quack! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life leads a trail of ducklings
- On the Road: Learning to Play — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers her inner adult through a summer of playing with her children.
- Preventing Tantrums Through Play — Gaby at Tmuffin explains how she keeps her household happy by not taking things too seriously.
- Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play — Lily, aka Witch Mom, redirects unwanted behavior in a toddler using games and play.
- Exaggerating for effect — Lauren at Hobo Mama has learned how to ham it up.
- Handling Big Emotions with Role Playing — Zoie at TouchstoneZ plays at tempering her parental frustrations while helping her children handle some big emotions
- How To Herd Toddlers by Talking Pictorially — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama demonstrates how talking in pictures is a playful way to engage your young child in transitioning from one activity to the next.
- Getting a Toddler to Go Where You Want…Playfully — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how a game of hide-and-seek can be used to steer a wandering toddler in the direction of her choosing.
- Playful Parenting: Chores That Do Themselves — Remember chores when you were a kid? If chores were this fun for Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey, she wouldn't have needed any reminders!
- Clown School Express: Playing away Fears — MudpieMama describes how she helped her boys confront their fears about starting kindergarten by playing with trains.
- Practicing Playful Parenting — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle realizes that playfulness is the best way through the day and seeks more ways to practice it.
- Today, Tomorrow and Every Day — Starr at Taking Time addresses her children in a letter sharing with them how improtant it is that they spend their childhood playing.
- Learning Through Immersion — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares how she helps her daughter develop naturally without focusing on teaching, but rather by immersing her in their family's way of life and making her an active part of her environment.
- Play Here Now — Jessica at Instead of Institutions learns and relearns and tries to remember the value of play.
- Play: A Wonderful Parenting Tool — Mamapoekie from Authentic Parenting offers a list of examples on how to use play in real-life parenting situations.
- Playful Parenting — a Book Review — Erica at ChildOrganics shares simple yet sage advice from Dr. Cohen on how play can change your child's life.
- Mock Threats: Turning Real Frustration into Playful Parenting — Threatening is not an effective discipline strategy, but Dionna at Code Name: Mama explains how parents can turn their frustration into playful moments by making "mock threats."
- I'm Sick of Yelling — I Want to Play — Alicia at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts realizes she needs to change the way she's parenting and is forming a new plan.
- Sing-along, Brush-along Songs — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest shares a few songs to make brushing her three-year-old's teeth more fun.
- Monster Voice — Ever have those frustrating moments with your kid(s) when you just want to scream? Amy at Anktangle shares a silly strategy for getting through those difficult times.
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