Last week my sister-in-law told this procrastinator, “We all need to remember to whistle while we work!” Why? Does it have to be fun? Come on, why not? “A merry heart does good like medicine.” Aren’t we more likely to do things that are energy giving? Let’s put off the sour faces and put on the cheerful. It’s catching. (Our Otter Daughter Sept. 7, 2015, A Merry Heart Prescription September 14, 2015.)
Our otter daughter explains that though she worked more slowly while singing, dancing, joking, she could actually do more because she lasted longer when the time was enjoyable.
Here are ideas from moms, daughters, and singles for making chores fun:
- Say, “Let’s have a cleaning PARTY!” and take it from there.
- Make the task achievable, work for a short time, be enthusiastic, encourage along the way.
- Determine the chore. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done in that amount of time.
- Work together. Many hands make light work.
- Get a whistle and any jerseys. Act like a coach or “play.” Have one team or more competing to beat the timer.
- Divide up the house among siblings and mom. Draw straws, have picking privileges, etc. Then everybody works for the same set time.
- Try naming parts of the house according to your take on them. “I’ve got the Siberian salt mine.” (The laundry room – I’ll never get out.) “I’m swabbing the deck.” (mopping) “I’m scaling the pyramid.” (Cleaning the stairs)
- Give choices. Work alone or work together? What reward (within a given range) would you like after completing this? Etc.
- Ask for ideas. “I don’t care for the way I’ve done this. Can you think of/show me a better way to vacuum?”
- Declare “No relaxing until the job is done! Then we have popcorn and reading!”
- Set a reward – trip to the park, ice cream, game including Mom, done today means no housework Saturday.
- Consider how your child is wired (likes, dislikes, abilities) and adapt to those bents. “How would YOU like to get this job done, Johnny?”
- Listen to podcasts – good for ironing, dusting.
- The big favorite, music! Turn on whatever gets you moving! Sing along!
Actually, I did some of these things. So what was missing? Attitude. I had on my FROWNY game face. “This is business. Get this work done now.” I wish I’d redefined and worn my SMILEY kind of game face. “This is gonna be fun and we will be so glad to knock out the job!” Less pressuring ourselves or our kiddos – and more fun.
Whistling with a frowny face? Try it – and laugh!
What are your suggestions for whistling while we work?