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What I Want Most for Mother's Day: Guest Blogger Helen Bertelli Hacks the Kenson Kids Reward Chart

My kids have reached a stage in their childhood where they are old enough to pick up and organize their stuff. However, due to the fact that their brain-eyeball connection is not yet fully formed, they simply don't see their own messes. I'm sure there is a scientific study I could cite on the topic of brain-eyeball connection and its lag in development in nine-year-olds, although I'm pretty sure most of the people reading this post don't need a study to believe this phenomenon to be true.

As I was thinking about what I wanted most for Mother's Day this year, it was this: for my kids to see their messes and clean them up without me having to nag or clean them myself.

Kenson Kids to the Rescue

My kids were raised with the Kenson Kids reward chart on our fridge. The chart helped us achieve things that sometimes felt impossible, from potty training to getting one of my children to wear trousers (sensory issues...).

As my kids have gotten older, the chart has been in storage until this Mother's Day project. To get my kids to see their messes, I hacked this chart and reward system using these steps:

1. First, I confiscated the kids' phones (I know, I know, child abuse...)

2. Then, I placed the stars from the reward chart on the messes around the house.

3. I told my kids to go looking for the stars around the house, clean up the messes as they go, and put the stars on the chart.

4. Once their row was filled with stars, they could have their electronics back.


Brainstorming with a friend - another mum - about what to call this campaign, she came up with the catchphrase #blessthismess. I immediately loved it. "Bless your heart" is a catchphrase used here in the South; you say it when someone has upset you but you are too much of a lady to let it show.

I repeated the phrase as I placed stars on the sundry out of place objects around my home - sneakers, backpacks, purses, blow-up owls - and it felt cathartic. Perhaps not as much fun as a mani-pedi, but cathartic nonetheless.

Check out the video I made of this adventure. And big kudos to my twelve-year-old who single-handedly created the stop-motion animation you'll see at the very end. Well done, Ava!

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