Here's how it works:
- Set a kitchen timer for 15 minuets...or just watch a clock
- Hand out jobs that need to be done. Be sure the jobs are age appropriate.
- Everyone starts their job at the same time.
- Everyone works as hard and as fast as they can until their job is done or the timer goes off.
- If someone gets done before the timer goes off, but their job is not complete or not done well, the prize goes to the next person whether they were finished or not. The goal is to work fast, but quality is important too. (this is in a case where there is only one prize)
- Music makes it fun too. Especially at Christmas time. You don't know what fun is until you hand out 4 jobs to 4 small children, turn on "Frosty the Snowman" and promise them they can all have hot chocolate if they get their job done well before the timer goes off!!
- I have found that offering one prize for the first one done causes problems. I'd rather tell them all that they are not racing each other; they are racing the clock. (This also promotes team work. We are all working together to get the house clean. We are a team!) If there is a prize, I make it so that they can all get it. A cup of hot chocolate, a piece of watermelon, a piece of gum, or a chance to help bake zucchini bread are all good rewards for beating the clock and all of them can have it.
- You can all work on a big pile of laundry or you can all do different things. My favorite thing is to send everyone in different directions. Between 4 kids and myself, we can almost get the house cleaned up in 15 minuets! This works great when you discover you are about to have unexpected company, or right before bed (but after the kids have brushed their teeth...gotta clean those tooth paste wads out of the sink!). I love to do it before everyone gets put away for the night. I like to know that the house will be clean when I wake up in the morning...for a few minuets anyway.