Cleaning up bad attitudes

It was time for our morning reading and Yo-Yo and Miss Becca Boo wouldn’t stop picking at each other. After repeatedly telling them to be quiet and then slamming my fist on the table and using my “megaphone voice” (my sister-in-law’s term), I finally recalled what my girlfriend Linell told me that her mother did when Linell and her sister wouldn’t stop bickering: window washing.

I stomped off to the bathroom and came back with two wet rags and a sheet of newspaper for each child. “Yo-Yo, you’re to do the outside and Becca Boo, you do the inside. You are going to wash windows until you can get along and I don’t care how long it takes you. I have a lot of dirty windows.”

They were laughing before they even started, and they finished in about four minutes.

The rest of our reading time progressed smoothly.


  • 40winkzzz

    That's a great idea. I have used the chore thing before –"Guess what! You guys get to practice getting along with each other while you scrub out the trash cabinet. And if you're not getting along by the time you're finished I'll find something else for you to practice with!" But I have never thought of window-washing for this. It's ideal, b/c (a) it doesn't have to take long, (b) it's easy & kind of fun, (c) it divides easily into two parts that can be done at the same time, and (d) they are looking at each other while doing it. It's almost guaranteed to do away with the bickering.

    And if it doesn't, there's always the trash cabinet to fall back on.

    Huh. Now I'm kind of looking forward to the next time they bicker so I can try it. (The way things have been lately, I shouldn't have long to wait.)

  • Anonymous

    And, hey, you got clean windows out of the deal. Touche, Mama JJ! I file that under “wisdom–pure and simple.” Then again, isn’t it usually?

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