Monday, May 20, 2013

Best Idea Ever, Vol. 5: Have a cleanup theme song.

Yes, I know this is one of the best ways to manipulate children behavior management techniques. Almost every classroom I have ever worked in has had some cue song to tell kids when it's time to clean up, and it almost always works. So why don't I have one at home?

The thing is, I have issues with sing-songy "kid" songs that have no musical merit, and I always disliked the standard cleanup anthems enough that I have never used one of them at home.

On a recent, messy night, I decided to type "clean up" in the search bar on Spotify. I got the usual suspects: Barney, Laurie Berkner, Yo Gabba Gabba...but I also got this totally catchy gospel song by the Canton Spirituals.

No, it's not actually about cleaning up your toys...but I like it, so it doesn't matter. It says "clean up" more than a few times, which is good enough for me.

By the second chorus, everyone was singing along. More importantly, everyone was cleaning up...ages 18 months to 34 years. It was an amazing family moment. I only asked them one time, said, "This is our cleanup music!" and led by example. When SuperSam got off task, I just said, "uh-oh, our cleanup song is still on!" and kept cleaning...and so did he.

No arguing. No nagging. Just dancing and teamwork and gospel music. And handclaps, because how could you not clap along?

I should definitely have done this sooner. We will be using it from now on.

Have you used music to control your children reinforce routines with your kids?