It is the same old story every single day.
'Time to tidy up, tidy up your toys, pick up those shoes, come on, tidy up time, TIDY UP!'..... It never ends.
Well, it does, but it is usually a with a bellow that signals that mum has had ENOUGH.
I learned pretty early on in my parenting career to limit my tidy up time to once a day, after dinner. And after years of crawling on my hands and knees shimmying LEGO out from beneath the couch while my husband rearranged the dolls house, I realised that the children needed to learn a little responsibility in the form of chores. There must be a better way.
We drew up a chore chart with little tasks beside everyone's name. I was super proud of my handiwork, but after two weeks I was forced to admit that this project was a complete failure.
That's when I found this genius hack from a friend of mine that I need to tell you about. (It really works).
Simply get yourself a kitchen timer. That's it. I promise.
There is nothing more likely to strike competition into a child as a race against a clock. It also means that it is child against machine, rather than naggy parents telling them to pick up their stuff. If they are really good I also let them run the vacuum - which is the only chore they actually BEG me to do because it is tornado red and cordless, aka magic. I love it too because it transforms the house in seconds, even picks up all pet hair and leaves it showhouse ready... (almost!)
So, just set up the timer for 4 minutes or similar and start with a fanfare of 'ready, steady, GO!' and watch those little scamps race around flinging LEGO into boxes, lining up their shoes neatly into pairs on the shoe-rack and dismantling various elaborate 'dens' throughout the house.
Inevitably, they race in breathless as I count down from ten - delighted with themselves. And although I usually have to tweak a little, suddenly it has all become a fun game and we end up laughing instead of moaning - which is 100% nicer.