by JESSE NEVE
Our four children share a single bathroom in our house. One sink. One shower. Over the past few years, generally speaking, the bathroom looked like a toothpaste factory exploded. Then, someone came to the rescue with a pile of towels, saw the state of the bathroom, threw the towels in and ran.
I spent years trying to figure out how to get my four kids to keep the bathroom sink and countertop clean. I tried lists, incentives and even photos of how it SHOULD look taped to the wall next to photos of how it USUALLY looks.
It was time to try something new. I divided the bathroom counter top into four sections with blue painter’s tape, one for each child. Then, I posted “Daily Bathroom Grades” on the bathroom door. There is a column for each child and one for the sink. Each day, I give everyone a grade. The sink is “communal property” so if they work to benefit the sink that day, they are to mark it on the chart.
I spent years trying to figure out how to get my four kids to keep the bathroom sink and counter top clean.
It was slow to start, but one day my 15-year-old son noticed he’d gotten a C because he left a smear of toothpaste on the counter top. From that moment, he was determined to always have an A+. Amazingly, his two little brothers saw that Big Bro was always “winning,” so THEY started trying to earn an A+ on their section, too. This has been going on for three months now, and it’s very rare when my four children aren’t on the “Bathroom Honor Roll.” Problem solved!
My kids were 17, 15, 13 and 11 when we started bathroom grading. I hope these habits eventually become ingrained and part of their daily routine. Then I can finally take down the painter’s tape!
JESSE NEVE is a freelance writer from Minnesota.