Most parents need more help around the house. I don’t think there’s many of us who thinks their house couldn’t possibly get any cleaner. I don’t think any parents say, “My child helps out too much!” But how can we get our kids to help without making it a huge battle?
Here are a few ways parents can get their kids to do chores without yelling or nagging:
- Make each person responsible for one recurring chore-Make a list of chores that you really need help with. Ask each person in your family to be “in charge” of one thing. It can be something simple like feeding the dog every night or setting the table before dinner. My son’s main chore is being responsible for the dishes. It may not seem like that big of a deal but in the last six months I have come home to a clean sink every day after work and go to bed with my sink clean every night without ever having to touch a dish. It has made my life so much easier and he only spends about 15-20 minutes a day on his chore. It has also helped him learn some valuable lessons about procrastination. There were a few times he let the dishes sit in the sink for days until they smelled and he thought I would eventually do them. It took a lot of will power for me to resist cleaning them but he only had to clean disgusting dishes once or twice before he learned it’s better to just take care of them right away.
- Make sure they’re age appropriate- Kids can start helping around the house as soon as they’re able to walk. Now I don’t mean your child should be in charge of cleaning the entire house when they’re still in diapers but training them at a young age to even just pick up their toys will help them understand they are a responsible member of the family. Helping will also give them confidence and make them feel important!
- Break larger chores down into small steps-For older children who have bigger chores, breaking them down into smaller steps will help make the chore more manageable. For example, instead of saying, “Clean your room” you can have them put all of their clothes in the hamper, pick up their Leggos, pick up their blocks, then put their art supplies away.
- Set a timer-This also helps to prevent your child from being overwhelmed by their chores. Setting a timer and having every member of your family clean a room for 15 minutes will usually yield some amazing results. Everyone will work hard if they know they only have to do it for a small amount of time.
- Give a reward-I try not to come right out and bribe my child (although parents should do whatever it takes to survive chore-time). I will, however, remind him of the good that comes from doing what he’s supposed to. For example, I say, “Why don’t we clean our rooms so a friend can come over next weekend,” or “Let’s clean up after dinner then have some ice cream.”
- Focus on the positive-Kids are not going to do chores perfectly. Don’t criticize their efforts if they really tried had because that will not make them want to help in the future. Praise them for what they did accomplish and give them only one or two pointers for improvement for next time.
What are some of your tips and tricks for getting your kids to help out around the house? I’d love to hear some of your parenting ideas!