Getting Kids to Help with Chores
It’s a new year so start things off right by getting the kids to help you out with chores around the house. Every member of the family needs to contribute to make the family work. Here are a few tips to help you get them on board. The younger you start, the better!
- Make a list of what you’d like the kids to do. Start with easy (and fun) chores such as vacuuming or dusting. Consider getting child-friendly tools like a kid-size broom or a light vacuum cleaner.
- Organize a ‘fun’ pickup time for tidying up and make it a game. Preschool age children seem to respond well if you also include clean up songs. For older kids, play their favourite music and let them work to the beat.
- Label shelves or boxes with words or pictures so kids know where to put items away.
- Get everyone to pitch in with folding laundry and play the “sock matching” game with younger children.
- Consider using a chore chart and keep it where you and your kids will see it every day. Keep it current by making sure everyone updates the chart daily and that rewards are given in a timely manner. It does take discipline to make a chore chart work, but if you want to teach a child discipline, the chore chart is the tool to use!
- Be clear and specific about your instructions. “Clean your room” may be overwhelming for a younger child. Give smaller tasks like “put your toys in the toy box” and “put your laundry in the hamper.” Only give one chore at a time. Use written instructions and checklists with older children, such as a chore chart.
- Limit cleaning to a certain time frame so kids don’t get bored and restless. Young children have short attention spans and shouldn’t spend too much time on any given task.
- If your child’s room gets cluttered, provide him with separate bins and containers for toys. Teach him how to organize by dividing toys up into groups and putting them away accordingly: cars in one bin, action heros in another.
- Be a good role model! Kids often emulate grown-up behaviour so set a good example by cleaning your room. When doing chores, work together, side-by-side. Not only is it good for the children to see you helping but you’ll also get some insight into how your child does things.
- Teach your kids to purge so every once in awhile, go through your child's clothes, toys, and papers along with your child and discuss what they really want to keep. Donate or recycle unwanted items.
When tasks are completed, have your kids step back and admire their work. Tell them how much better it looks and what a great job they've done. Don't ever make chores a punishment; kids need to feel that housework can be interesting and even amusing! Don’t forget to offer little rewards for completing chores, like a trip to someplace fun.