Summer House Cleaning Project Game

My house is a disaster, you guys. We're talking post-apocalyptic-grade mess. You could say it's because we have kids, but to be honest, not one of the people who lives in my house is a particularly neat person, as these things go.

At the same time, we're planning a family trip at the end of the summer as a surprise for our kids. (Shhhh, don't tell them, it's a secret!) So I got to thinking, as one does, about whether I could use this looming surprise in a game to create an incentive for the behavior I want: everyone cleaning up the house a little (a lot) more than they do today.

So I've made up a little spreadsheet assigning each room (and a couple of non-room places, like our cars) a point value (between 3,000 and 5,000 points, depending on difficulty as measured by how messy that room is today). Each area also has a person in charge of deciding if that room counts as being clean; I've spread it around so the kids judge the adult-responsibility areas (like the kitchen or my office), while the adults judge the areas where the kids tend to be messiest (like the playroom and their bedrooms).

For my littler daughter, we'll be framing it as stars -- 1,000 points equals one star. And I've set a bunch of point targets for each week. It starts at 10,000 points, and escalates by 5,000 points each week until the final week. We'll be making a scoreboard over the weekend; I'll show you a picture of it once it exists.

If we fall a little behind, we can also earn bonus points by helping to clean out the garage -- 1,000 bonus points per half hour spent.

Here are the rules, as I'm presenting them to my kids:

  • On Sunday MORNING, points will be tallied up before we go out for the day -- no later than NOON
  • You start with 45,000 points and lose score for each room that is still messy
  • If you are in charge of a room, you are the one who decides if it is clean or not!
  • If we hit our target for each week, we get a trip for ice cream! (or another treat)
  • If we hit 70,000 points/70 stars total by Aug. 7, we get a trip to the toy store!
  • If we hit 175,000 points total by Aug. 28, we get a SUPER AWESOME GRAND PRIZE!

This is really just an incredibly fancied-up version of a sticker reward chart, but with a lot more structure to it than those usually get. I guess we'll see if it works!

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