Friday, September 28, 2007

The House Fairy

I don't think I've ever had an original idea, but I'm very good at taking hold of the good ideas of other people and making them work in my own life. Many of my "great ideas" have come from my mom. One, in particular, keeps my children enthused without fail: visits from the House Fairy.

The House Fairy is a distant cousin of the Tooth Fairy, and she comes to reward children whose rooms are tidy and whose beds are made. She leaves a small treat on the child's pillow, anything from a small bag of chips or a candybar to a sheet of stickers or a cool pen. Usually it's something edible at our house.

I would much rather reward children for good behavior than punish them for bad. I also would much rather have clean bedrooms than disaster areas, and I don't subscribe to "just shutting the doors". Our children are expected to have beds made and rooms tidied before coming down in the morning for scripture study, but during the week "tidy" gets a little more loosely interpreted. All I have to say when I see that things need a boost is, "I heard the House Fairy may be paying a visit today." That's it. They know exactly what this means, and they want in on the loot. And it's so much easier than nagging.

Sometimes I will do a spot check and say, "I don't know if the House Fairy will think this is good enough. Better be sure!" Or, "I'd go and remake that bed if I were you before the House Fairy gets here." They wait anxiously for her arrival, and subsequent approval. I never let them see her, of course. She must be protected. And when my children say, "Mom, can you put the candy on our beds now?" I reply, "Do I look like the House Fairy?"

This was one of my favorite inventions of my mother. It was an easy score for me too, since I was OCD on the cleanliness spectrum. We were also rewarded for having our chores done, and I remember July mornings before Summer Band, sweeping the wrap-around porch of our three story NJ house before the humidity was too oppressive. My favorite House Fairy gifts were the packs of cheese and crackers with the little red knife. My least favorite was the package of Cabbage Patch Kid briefs (GRANNY PANTIES) in shades of purple, pink, and yellow, right before my freshman year of high school. Let me tell you about changing in the locker room for gym class, being one of the only little tiny (Mormon) white girls amidst a sea of Yolanda's and Taniqua's when your mother buys you Cabbage Patch Kid briefs. Yeah. Talk about Fear Factor. Well, I'll tell you another time.

The important thing here is that children can be coaxed into having clean bedrooms with a little visit from the House Fairy. It works wonders, and I'd be glad to give her your address if you'd like. Tell the kids she's coming, and stand back to be amazed!

9 comments:

Sarah said...

That is an amazing idea!! I am for sure going to give that one a shot. I need all the bribery tactics that I can get. Rylie did a really good job helping out over the summer. She cleaned her entire room by herself (without me even asking) which is amazing. I mean, cleaned it from...dirty clothes all over the floor, dolls everywhere, papers...you name it, it was probably in there. Also, one week she did the dishes everyday for me. We told her we'd pay her $5.00 if she'd do them for a week, and she totally did it. Plus, she was always asking if she could vaccuum. What a sweetheart! Normally though, when I ask/tell the kids to do anything, I get a bunch of silly excuses. Usually "I'm too tired" or "My back hurts"...If they only knew....

Luisa Perkins said...

I'm already amazed. I needed this! Thanks!

so grateful to be Mormon! said...

hi jenna:
this is so cute. love it. and i don't see this as stealing an idea. this is appropriating the resources available to you :)

you are too cute. thanks for stopping by yesterday. been really swamped at work (because of end of the fiscal year), so especially enjoyed your note yesterday. you keep making me smile :)

happy weekend, kathleen :)

Life ticks on said...

Hahah I love it the lil white mormon girl. Trust me I know what you mean. I was thankful my school wasnt that bad until I was out of it!

Jacquie said...

Ok that is one seriously great idea! I so gotta try that in my house!

CableGirl said...

What a phenomenal idea! Oh I will certainly try to remember that when the time comes. (as my LO is only 10 months it will still be awhile so I can guarantee my brain will retain. :p )

I agree with you whole heartedly at the desire to reward good behavior instead of punishing bad. Positive incentive!

Annette Lyon said...

Terrific idea! I'll have to try this.

Summer said...

This is a fun idea! I wonder if it would work for my messy boys.

Dapoppins said...

The house fairy! Wow. I am thinkin she needs to come to my house.