Playful engagement is one of the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) strategies that supposed to be first level of all of our interactions with our children. Sometimes it can be really hard to think of play first though! I wanted to share one “win” I had at home in getting my daughter to clean up. I am a firm believer that chores are so great for children. However, they are torture for us to get them to do them!! The whining, the constant supervision to get it done, the fits and tantrums that can ensue are not easy to deal with, especially for kids with sensitive nervous systems due to trauma! It would be so much easier to clean her toys myself but that isn’t teaching her the values of respect and hard work that I want her to have. It is not always my first impulse to start with play when transitioning to cleaning, but this time I did! I had just gone though my old ribbons and awards from 4-H and school and she wanted to play with a few. Those happened to be out when I wanted her to clean and I had this idea! Here is the explanation:
* Three trophies, ribbons, or awards
* A messy room (children will supply this one!)
* Pretend microphone optional but encouraged
1. Think of three specific, manageable cleaning tasks for your child’s developmental level (not chronological age)
2. Enter the room with the awards and your best “announcer” voice and say: “The completion has begun and I am looking for a brave contestant to win these awards!! The categories for the competition are folding clothes, putting away blocks, and making the bed! How about you sir??”
3. Narrate the competition giving praise to your child as they do the cleaning like a sports announcer. Say you have to see them do all three categories to rank them for awards.
4. Give out first, second, and third place for how well they did each activity. (Commencement music optional) “You folded these all so neatly and you did that with respect so that gives you the first place for that! Second place goes to putting away blocks since those also look nice and third place goes to the bed! Great job!!!”
Note: if you have more than one child, I would not recommend making this a competition between them. I would have each child clean their own room with three tasks of their own for you to rank individually. Have fun and try not to make any critical comments that would ruin the fun of the activity and it’s great that they are just doing it without fussing or throwing a fit! Keep that the goal of this activity.
Happy cleaning! Let me know if you try it!