The Room Fairy

As I crammed my adult body into my son’s tiny first grade school desk and chair, I put my listening ears on for Parent Night.
My son’s teacher thoroughly discussed curriculum, the classroom rules, lunchroom procedures and we met the class hamster, Chululah. 
But she got my attention, when she mentioned the desk fairy.  The little invisible creature makes surprise visits to sprinkle fairy dust on clean desks and to leave a tiny treat. If the desks aren’t tidy, she leaves a little note, It reads “oops.”
Now, I don’t know about y’all, but my kids struggle a bit in the tidy room department.  And according to Dr. Kimmel of Grace-Based parenting, it’s not all their fault. He encourages parent’s to pick their battles and lay off the room wars. 
At family camp, he told us that we expect our kids to keep their plethora of toys organized in small bedrooms. In his opinion, it’s overwhelming and we should help them! They have more toys and smaller rooms than we did when we were kids.
Sitting at my son’s desk, I must have inhaled the fairy dust because when I got home, I emailed the room fairy, distant cousin to the desk fairy.
And guess what I discovered?  She makes house calls.  
I told my kids that she would visit the last day of every month and she might even throw in a surprise visit every now and then.  
I have never seen my kids so excited to keep tidy rooms. My hubby and I help them, of course, but we are hearing less complaints. And if a pile begins to grow, I hear my kids encouraging each other, “she might be coming…”
And she did. She came and sprinkled her special glitter and delighted my kids. It was easy and fun! And such a positive way to reinforce taking care of our things.
(My almost 9 year old may be smarter than we think, but since glitter and treats are her love language, she cleans her room like the best of them).
(Sidenote bonus: If you don’t believe in fairies, Santa, bunny, small leprechauns, you can just lie.  Oh, I’m kidding, just call it a surprise room inspection with a prize!)
Oh, the end of the month is almost here.
Now, where did I put those wings?
For more great tips, visit Works for Me Wednesday!

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I’ve always said that anyone who doesn’t believe bribery works with kids probably doesn’t have kids!!!

    Very cute idea! Do you think my teens would buy it???

  2. 4

    says

    This is interesting….I discussed it with my 19 year old and told her she might be getting an email from roomfairy@hotmail.com…lol

    She said room fairy might have a facebook account…

    Good Ideas.

    Come and visit my new blog…I am a newbie and need lots of pats on the back….lots of visitors…

    Love your blog!

    Lynne

  3. 8

    says

    What a great idea! My 7 year old gets a small allowance ($2) and he always waits until Friday night to do his chores…because if he waits till Saturday he does them for free! I think this just might be what he needs to keep his room cleaned Sunday-Thursday!

  4. 9

    says

    When I taught, I used to do this with my students and they LOVED it! This reminds me to make sure I pull out my teaching bag of tricks and try them on my own children. They’re still both under 3 years old, but my oldest is getting to the age where she can start pulling at least just a little bit of weight in the cleaning department. Teach them young, right?

  5. 21

    says

    Sounds like a nicer idea than my “garbage bag of death” (aka, I throw away the toys that I pick up while we’re cleaning) We may have to try that.

  6. 22

    Hopefulmom says

    Hi! I love your blog. I’ve tried to follow your link before for Grace Based Parenting, but I think it should be familymatters.net, not familymatters.com.

    Thanks for the info on the fairy…I think I’ll try it! And I know for sure I need Grace Based Parenting! I’m going to order the book right now. :)

  7. 24

    says

    House fairy visits in our house too.

    However, once the tooth fairy forgot to leave some money, and my eldest daughter decided it was because her room had been too messy. Not if a tooth is wobbly she insists on cleaning her room just in case the tooth drops out. Who are we to argue?!

  8. 25

    says

    Great idea! And, thanks for adding the end note. We don’t have fairies (my kids just refuse to believe– my 7 year old said right away- the tooth fairy is either momma or daddy- now which one is it?) but I can see doing the “Room Inspection”.

  9. 26

    says

    I’m on a teaching hiatus to stay home with our son for a little while, but when I was teaching 1st and 3rd grades, we had a desk fairy and the kids LOVED it. I always made sure that the desk fairy left really good treats, and sometimes she decorated a desk that had been kept neat all week.

    My desk, however, was never neat. On more than one occasion I had a first grader tell me, in the way only little ones can, that I was probably NOT going to be visited by the desk fairy unless I did something about that mess!

    I LOVE first graders!

    Good luck with the room fairy. I’d probably be a better housekeeper if the hubby caught on to the room fairy phenomenon! :)

  10. 28

    says

    What a great idea. bribery is a tool that we take out of our tool box quite often. It works and it works with no serious repercussion(as of yet) I think I too will be emailing the room fairy.
    Now is there an eat your veggies Fairy that I can email??

  11. 29

    says

    About a month ago, after many exhausting battles to help me clean her room, I told my 4 yr old to dump her things in a big storage bin. I explained that she wasn’t in trouble, I just wanted to help her keep her room clean. (I may have noted that bugs like to hide in messy rooms.) She picked 3 things to keep and happily dumped the rest. I organized the extras in bins in the garage thinking that if she wanted to play with the kitchen stuff for a while and put it away again, she’d ask. She hasn’t.

  12. 30

    says

    About a month ago, after many exhausting battles to help me clean her room, I told my 4 yr old to dump her things in a big storage bin. I explained that she wasn’t in trouble, I just wanted to help her keep her room clean. (I may have noted that bugs like to hide in messy rooms.) She picked 3 things to keep and happily dumped the rest. I organized the extras in bins in the garage thinking that if she wanted to play with the kitchen stuff for a while and put it away again, she’d ask. She hasn’t.

  13. 33

    nancyk says

    i’ve been waiting for my son to finally clean his room and i couldn’t wait any longer. i just cleaned it for the last time.
    oh, by the way, he’s been married for 4 months.
    Dr. Kimmel is absolutely right, choose the battles wisely. Funny, my son keeps his own apartment spotless.

  14. 34

    says

    My kids always had to make sure the mess they made in common areas was cleaned up but their rooms were theirs! the only way they had to clean up was if company was coming. That being said we have house rules about no food or drink up-stairs. I am a firm believer that they need their space and it needs to look how they want it to as it develops their personality.

  15. 35

    says

    I use the desk fairy in my classroom too (I teach 3rd grade), but never thought to use it with my kids. I think you’re on to something here. When you are done with the wings, may I borrow them!!!

  16. 36

    says

    glitter and gifts are words of magic!!! Ooohhh I needed this idea I already threatened to pack up all of my childrens belongings to give to the goodwill, unfortunately I explained that they would give the toys and things to children who were without….well bless thier little hearts they offered to help pack! they thought the good will kids would like thier stuff and I could just but them new stuff…grrrr as sweet as they are we did pack up a lot of stuff but the bad beahavior continued and so did my empty threats….glitter, why did I not think of that!!!!

  17. 38

    says

    Well…I’m constantly amazed at the things I don’t think of on my own!

    This sounds much better than the nagging I’ve been trying for the past couple of years. ;)

    My children thank you in advance.

  18. 41

    says

    We call it mummy check! A note gets left on a shelf by their beds with a note from Mummy. On occassion a candy is left with it or some stickers to go in their saving book, where a sticker is worth about 50 cents. They love it even my 9 year old boy! I love the idea of Oops!!

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