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I wish I had thought... YEARS ago... of the "Ten Minute Tidying Challenge"

(16 Posts)
TrickOrTrefusis Mon 26-Oct-09 20:32:36

I can recommend it to anyone with older primary-aged children (mine are 10 and 7). It works on the principle that children are basically well-meaning and eager to please, but easily distracted.

You do what it says on the tin. Set a timer with an alarm, and tell them they have ten minutes to tidy as much as they can of their room.

It can be varied to 5 mins in the living room, 10 mins in the rest of the house, etc., depending on the mess in question - but the key is, never longer than 10 minutes. It's a chunk of time that they seem to be able to apply themselves for - long enough to achieve something, short enough to get it over with quickly.

In our house it seems to work best to have both of them tidying together, rather than each in a different room, but ours share a bedroom, so it may work differently for other people.

Am sure it's old hat to everyone else except me, but we recently discovered it, and it has made a huge difference to the quality of life in our house. They were spending entire afternoons every weekend, moaning and complaining about tiding "all day", when in reality they were stopping and playing every two minutes and never getting anything done. Their room is now immaculate, our house is tidy, and it took ten minutes grin.

JeMeSouviens Mon 26-Oct-09 20:35:22

Brilliant tip, will put this one in the tip jar

henryhuggins Mon 26-Oct-09 20:37:09

oh yes, i do this. is good!

not iwth kids tho, mus try that too!

TrickOrTrefusis Mon 26-Oct-09 20:42:23

Yes, it's quite good for housework as well wink.

For a really big mess, you just break it up into slots of 10 minutes, stop the clock and check progress after each one. You survey the room, estimate the number of slots it'll take and add one, then say: "Hmmm... I reckon that's going to take three slots today. Maybe two if you're really quick - but no, it's pretty untidy so you're probably in for a three". They will definitely have done it in two.

nightofthewakingdead Mon 26-Oct-09 20:45:54

copyright flylady ! grin

TrickOrTrefusis Mon 26-Oct-09 20:48:49

LOL - is it really?

Then it is a ringing endorsement of the principles of Flylady, which I'd never actually investigated before smile. (Might check it out, if it's that good...)

TrickOrTrefusis Mon 26-Oct-09 20:49:27

And she even looks like me grin

TrickOrTrefusis Mon 26-Oct-09 20:55:11

Ahh, but you see... it's radically different. She does it for 15 minutes, and I do it for 10, being but a cheap imitation.

I'm like one of those cross-eyed Iggle Piggles that they sell in the market.

nightofthewakingdead Mon 26-Oct-09 20:55:23



You'll have to stretch to 15 mins at a time though with Flylady although you are "allowed" to break it up into 5 min slots if you are really lazy really need to!

nightofthewakingdead Mon 26-Oct-09 20:55:55

cross-post. grin

Keep reading...

DemonBradleySlaysPippi Mon 26-Oct-09 20:58:20

Great tip. wILL DEF REMEMBER THAT (ups sorry) for when they are older and maybe apply a shorter version for my young ones.

FrightsMonth Mon 26-Oct-09 21:04:20

I have a variation which goes:
"Anything that is not picked up when the pinger goes is going in the bin".
That gets them moving grin

LauraN1 Mon 26-Oct-09 22:15:46

Excellent, FrightsMonth!

TrickOrTrefusis Mon 26-Oct-09 22:52:26

If I tried that on mine, FrightsMonth, I'd have to use lots of caveats. Otherwise I'd end up binning their school uniforms.

cece Mon 26-Oct-09 22:55:18

I have a new rule, started this weekend. 'Anything on the floor is rubbish'

I put a few of their things in the waste paper bin to prove my point - they recued them on discovery! Now they tidy up first time of asking! Lol

TrickOrTrefusis Mon 26-Oct-09 23:04:32

I'd been tearing my hair out and had tried lots of different things on my two. Some of them - like threatening with the bin - lasted for a couple of weeks, but always ended in tears.

Inevitably (as mine are very flighty and tend to distract each other) I would end up having to follow through with my threat, and bin some precious object. Cue lots of tears and trauma. I would then either have to fish it out of the bin - so next time they wouldn't take me seriously - or insist that the beloved item was thrown/given away. This seemed very harsh for simple forgetfulness/disorganisation, especially for 7-yr-old dd2.

This way works better for mine, as they now enjoy tidying up (they relish anything with the word "challenge" in it). They also like the fact that they get lots of praise instead of my threats, shouting and in one case storming out of the house blush.

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