8 Ways To Get Your Kids To Help With Chores
It might be hard to know how best to get your kids really involved in household chores. But even if it takes a while to perfect the routine, this is an invaluable element of family life; not only for you, but for them too. Chores help kids to understand that families are essentially teams, based on mutual care and obligation. Though different family members have different responsibilities, even little ones can contribute to the smooth running of the household: Don't underestimate the power of spray bottles, and bubbles (aka washing up!)
It also sets kids up well for life: As much as you love them, you don’t want to discover that by the age of 25 they still can’t do a load of laundry; and the earlier they start building these skills, the better … No one wants the house to burn down the first time they try to make toast!
1. Team Spirit
We don't like to feel forced; so as much as possible make it clear that this is a family responsibility, involving the adults as much as the kids. This could be done as a quick clear up before dinner, with family members splitting up to do different tasks, or taking time at the weekend before doing something fun. Whether you divide tasks, or take time to do things together (like changing the sheets or cooking;) it’s much more fun when you’re not alone.
2. 'How To...'
Rather than just outlining the basics, why not take time to go into detail? For this tech-savvy generation, you could make mock vlogger 'How To' videos (don’t worry, you don’t have to put them on the internet!) Or you could do them in character as a stuffy French hotelier, a country servant, or a robot? Maybe you could even swap roles, so they are ‘teaching’ you how to do the chores too.
3. Tick Things Off
Creating a list of tasks and being able to tick them off once they’re done, not only serves as a good reminder; but also promotes a sense of achievement (for you, as much as for them.) There’s nothing like the satisfaction of ticking something off a list!
4. Mix Things Up
There’s a danger of boredom and a sense of drudgery, so why not mix things up every once in a while? If you have more than one child, they could swap to clean each others' rooms, or everyone could rotate through the house.
5. Set Challenges
Don’t worry about giving kids a challenge; it’s much more fun than doing something too easy and boring. Gradually build their responsibilities as they become comfortable; let them do tasks unsupervised rather than constantly being the ‘assistant’; or have a time-trial for everyone getting things done at super speed.
6. It’s All A Game
Will you play "Go Fish" with a basket of clean socks, then turn any stray (clean) socks into child-friendly dust mitts; seeing how much dust they can collect? Maybe you could tie dusters to their feet (in houses with wooden floors) and get them to slide around to help polish? Or have a scavenger hunt for everyday items; with the person returning the most objects to their rightful place being announced as the winner?
7. Rock DJ
Let’s be honest, everything is more fun with music, so crank it up, sing along, and have a little dance party. The cheesier the better ... everyone deserves a bit of Wham! in their lives.
8. Points Mean Prizes
While an over-reliance on physical rewards can have a negative effect once the novelty has worn off; the extra motivation of stickers, sliding scale pocket money, fun 'post chore' outings, or (most importantly) just a darn good high five and plenty of praise; can work wonders.
Your kids will never do things exactly as you would, so patience is necessary! But it’s important for them to have a regular opportunity to try nonetheless. Not only will it ease your burden; it also teaches them responsibility, and builds your relationship as a team, so you’re not just seen as the boss, slave-driver, cook, or housekeeper!
Not making any assumptions about your other half, but you might also enjoy 8 Housework Rules All Dads Need To Follow! Do you have any secrets to getting your kids involved in running the house? And what do you like to listen to while you're cleaning? We'd love to hear from you!