Thursday, February 21, 2008

The 5-Minute Rule - when you want to be there but can't

I know that I cannot always be on top of my children to make sure they are cleaning. And whenever I am not right there with them, things almost always never seem to get done. I recently read about something that I have implemented that has really helped me and I will share it with you.

When your child is cleaning, check on them every 5 minutes. For every 5 minutes, they need to have completed 5 minutes worth of work. If you are unable to watch them or even check every five minutes, then set a timer and have them report to you what they have done and what they have left to do.

When I first implemented this, I thought it would be easy. If the child KNEW Mommy was watching her, she would do her job. However, since I had slacked off in training them, it did not work as I had imagined. SO I tweaked it a bit. After about an hour and her room was STILL not clean, I thought maybe she did not have some focus. So I gave her some focus.

Start with the floor. Everything should be off the floor in five minutes. I will be back to check. If she still needed direction, I would have said to take a trip around the floor. Start where you come in the door and walk all around the room like a big clock hand, cleaning up as you go along. When you end up back at the door, the floor should be cleaned. Five minutes later, move on to the next thing. Everything off her bed. The floor is clean, so do not put anything back on the floor. Then the closet. Finally, a recheck of the floor, in case any trash fell down. :)

With my littlest (4 1/2yr) I had to check on her every two minutes at first. Now, it is up to five (unless she has gotten a hold of gluten, then it is back to every 2 minutes). :)

OH and remembering to PRAISE throughout. What a good job you did finding all the little pieces of trash on the floor! What a wonderful job folding your clothes!

This has also really helped give ME some peace. I was getting so stressed out about them not following through. ESPECIALLY when I was not there to oversee them. I do of course go and check over every job. But now, when I feel I HAVE to be somewhere else doing something else, I can still take the breaks and check on my children.

Three things I am thankful for:
*having final taught myself to crochet. I am having so much fun MAKING things for the children and for my home.
*JJ is blowing his nose (perfect timing since all the kids are sick with runny noses)
*my beloved - he is my best friend and I am so in love with him!

1 comment:

Biz said...

This is a great rule of thumb. Wish I had thought of training my kids like this when we started! I really like the 'trip around the room' idea!