Doing the Blitz  

Friday, December 28, 2007

By Barbara A. Clark
The Spirited Strider

I am honored to be asked to be a guest blogger here. I hope you will enjoy my first post.

As a mother of two daughters, I can relate to what never seems to be an endless chore of picking up. When my children were little and I was passing time waiting in a doctor's office, I read an article in a magazine about the concept of playing a game called "The Blitz" as a way to get your young children to help you pick up around the house. In my effort to be a conscientious researcher and give credit to the author of the concept, I recently did some research to find the creator of this wonderful concept. What I found, however, was a recent blog posted years after I had read the article in that magazine, but no mention of the person who originally created it. So I'm not sure whose idea it was, but it's a great one. I started using it in the mid-1990's when my kids were little and it quickly became a family tradition in my home.

The game is called "The Blitz," but I like to refer to it as "Doing the Blitz." It doesn't cost a thing, uses only about 10-15 minutes of your time when you do it and it's easy to get the kids involved.

To begin, tell your kids that you're starting a new family game called The Blitz. As long as your kids can walk, all members of the family can and should participate in some way. Here is how you do it:

1. Set a timer for no more than 15 minutes. I recommend at least 10 minutes, but no more than 15.
2. Then shout "BLITZ" with as much enthusiasm as you can generate.
3. Each member of the family looks around the house and picks up items, moving them at least out of sight to another location.
4. When the timer stops, you all stop. No exceptions!
5. Give lots of praise to everyone for a job well done!

That's it! The idea is to move as much out of sight as you can in the little time that there is, while making it fun for the entire family.

The Blitz works well when you want to target a particular area of your home and make it look presentable. Doing the Blitz can be a lifesaver when you find out that unexpected company is stopping by in a half an hour! You can quickly pick up all the toys, shoes and other stuff that your family so conveniently left lying around in the living room. It's great after you've unwrapped those Christmas presents, too. It works well when you are trying to separate items for each family member (e.g. shoes, clothing, toys, etc.) and take them to their respective bedrooms. It works with very young children and older ones, too, and builds on family time together. All around, it's a great family activity for everyone with very visible, immediate results.

A word of caution: please don't use this as a method for thoroughly cleaning your house! It is extremely important that you stop when the timer goes off. Otherwise, Doing the Blitz won't be fun anymore for anyone and your kids will be more likely to whine about all that hard work they have to do. You can always follow-up the next day with another "Blitz" in each person's room, having them put away all the things they brought there the previous day.

So, for the real cleaning jobs, Doing the Blitz is not the best option, but for picking up, it's a great fun activity that also can build on family time together, while making the "public" areas of your home look great. It's a great stress-reliever, too as you'll be laughing together and proud of how much you can do when you work together as a team.

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