Sweeping squares

What: Squares marked on the floor for the kids to use as a “target” to sweep into.

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Square is just a little wider than the broom. I’m not too fussed with the accuracy of targeting as long as there is some.

About: I’ve been trying to get my kids to sweep for years, with low expectations, and my expectations have still been too high. We formalised sweeping as a weekly chore about a year ago, and results were still poor. There was no sense of how it should look when finished, or whether one’s actions were improving or unimproving the situation – after ten minutes of sweeping I’d still have stuff all over the floor. And neither child could implement a broom well enough to try different things and see if they worked. I saw this idea on the Net somewhere, tried it, and so far it seems to be helping. Something to provide focus and structure was what was needed. Now at least most of the dirt and crud ends up in the square rather than just randomly redistributed.

How: I got a few rolls of fancy ribbon from the local two dollar store, cut them into lengths of about the right size, laid them out where I wanted the square to be and taped them in place with clear packing tape. That seems to have worked fine. It wasn’t easy though, ribbon curling and tape sticking all over the place, and in hindsight I should have just tried to find fancy adhesive tape and save myself a step. So far the packing tape is standing up to the random force of brooming, and maybe the nice adhesive tapes wouldn’t, and we all do like the ribbons I got. So, swings and roundabouts there.

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The cats won’t walk in the squares. I don’t know why. That piece of floor is now LAVA!!! Or something. I will resist the temptation to make a lava hallway for the rest of us to play with. Or not.

Extras: Not sure if this really builds on anything in particular. The aim was to give a target, it’s providing a target. My next steps will be to build on the sense of actually sweeping the whole area methodically, rather than just dragging the broom through once and assuming it has somehow magically swept the whole hallway. But I have no time-specific goal there. I’m more interested in building the sense that this is a trivial job, easy to get done, requiring no drama – and that it’s a job that has to be done regularly by someone.

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