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How to Get Kids to Help Around the House More

Giving kids chores teaches life skills and prepares them for adulthood, that’s why it’s best to start teaching them as early as possible.

Here are the most useful approaches and tips when it comes to involving them in that process:

Build a routine

One of the best ways to involve our children in helping out around the house is by making a routine.

Routine provides a much-needed structure for the day and when a child knows what to expect, there is less argument and resistance. There are routines for sleeping, eating, so why should it be anything different about doing house chores?

Start small. Usually, it’s best to introduce one or two tasks a week to make it part of the child’s routine. To avoid boredom, it’s also a good idea to switch between different chores from time to time or simply give them a choice.

The best time for chores during a school year is in the evening, as kids are under enough stress in the morning trying to get to school on time. In the summer, however, chores should be done first thing in the morning.

Remember, you never want to pull your child from doing something exciting to doing something boring, because that won’t work. Instead, you want them to work through the mundane stuff and get to the fun things. That will teach them responsibilities have to get done before the excitement can start.

Show them how to do it

It can be really frustrating for a kid to be given a task he doesn’t understand how to do. That’s why it’s important first to show them how to do something step-by-step. Do the chore together the first few times until the child has gained confidence and is ready to do it on their own.

It’s also important that when teaching a new skill we do not criticize them, nor do their work over for them (because why bother doing anything if there will be someone who finds fault with it and does it over for them).

Remember, we are trying to build a positive habit and we do not want the initial impression of the kids to be associated with anything negative. That is why we should be patient and offer them praise and hugs, which will build up their confidence and make them feel loved.

Make it look fun

While it’s important to have a routine, you can achieve more by making chores around the house a little bit more fun to do.

Create a sticker chart

Research has indicated that sticker charts are really effective and popular with kids, as they help even boring and downright unpleasant tasks get done when a child knows that there is a reward at the end.

Write down your kids’ names and what’s expected and put the chart somewhere visible. Now each child can put a little sticker after each time they complete a task. At the end of the week, they will get a reward.

Remember, for this to work just make sure it’s something that they really want.

Play your favorite songs

Another way to spice things up is by blasting your favorite songs through the speakers while you are dusting or folding the laundry. Listening to music will greatly improve the mood and make you and your kids get through mundane housework tasks a whole easier and more fun.

Play potluck

A really nice way to escape the boredom of routine is to mix things up and have the entire family play potluck. Write down the chores for the day/week on separate pieces of paper and put them inside a hat or a jar. Each family member will draw out a random task, and everyone will pick until all of them are complete. Playing potluck is a great way to keep things fresh and to avoid the boredom and fatigue of having to do the same things over and over again.

Do something fun after you are done

You could make it a family tradition to do something fun for the entire family after you are done with the chores: make your favorite dish, visit your favorite restaurant, or simply allow your kids more screen time. After all, we all work better when we know we have something pleasant waiting for us at the end.

Different tasks for different ages

While it’s important to start teaching kids how to help around the house as early as possible, it’s just as important that the chores we give them are age-appropriate.

The most appropriate tasks for kids of different ages are:

Toddlers (2-3 years):

  • Pick up their toys and books;
  • Help by pretend-dusting with a sock;
  • Put clothes on clothes hooks.

Preschoolers (4-5 years):

  • Help us prepare simple meals and set the table;
  • Help us to sort the laundry;
  • Help us with groceries and shopping;
  • Pick up after themselves and keep their room tidy.

School-age children (6-11 years):

  • Help fold the clothes;
  • Help take out the trash;
  • Walk or feed pets;
  • Vacuum, mop or sweep the floors;
  • Help prepare meals or make their own breakfast;
  • Keep their own room clean and tidy.

Why kids do not enjoy helping with house chores?

Kids consider house chores a punishment

If we use chores as threats or punishment then no wonder why our kids see them as such. Furthermore, it will only increase their resistance towards what we try to get them to do in the first place.

We want our kids to see chores not as a punishment or a consequence, but as expected responsibility, to be done no matter what.

The only acceptable time to give a chore as a consequence is if they have done something wrong to their sibling. In that way, they can take on the work to make amends and show them they are sorry.

We prefer to do it ourselves

It’s true that if we do everything ourselves, it all gets done a whole lot faster and easier. But that is simply the wrong approach when it comes to raising children.

When we have kids, we can’t afford not to involve them in doing the housework. We don’t do it so we can have helpers or save ourselves time, although both these things happen eventually. We do it because doing chores teaches life skills and responsibility, and ultimately it prepares our kids for the real world.

Sure, it’s tough sometimes. Kids will resist you, there will be arguments, but so long as you don’t give up, you will have raised them into self-sufficient and responsible adults, who in turn could pass those skills to their own children someday.

Kids forget their responsibilities

Kids get easily absorbed into fun activities and often forget the passage of time. That’s a normal part of childhood and to be expected. Oftentimes, however, we as parents would notice that the chores aren’t getting done and begin nagging and lecturing, which, of course, has the opposite effect of what we intend.

When kids forget their responsibilities, instead of nagging them, it’s best to gently remind them 10-15 minutes beforehand. This will help minimize the initial shock of being pulled out of absorption and help lower their resistance when the time for housework comes.


Remember, it’s much easier to get kids to do their chores if they have to work through them to get to the exciting part of the day, not if they are pulled away from something exciting.

Conclusion

Teaching our kids how to do chores may require lots of patience and character but it is worth it. It’s preparing them for the real world, where they will know how to take care of themselves, of a house, and a family. And as a parent, we are at our proudest when we see our kids doing good and see that all our love, patience and dedication has prepared them well.

Author bio: Jane Wilson is a devoted mum, a blogger and a marketing executive situated in Melbourne. She works for the local Fantastic Cleaners office. She also runs a small blog called Modern Housewives, where she shares all kinds of home improvement and parenting tips.