As with all Western societies, we’ve grown accustomed to a living arrangement where the mother of a household does all the work, while the father and the children play a more passive role and don’t do much. But as time progresses, more parents see the need to teach their kids the importance of being an essential part of the house chores. Not only will they have problem-solving abilities, you as a parent will prepare them for the future so they can be self-sufficient people. But if you don’t know where to begin and you need tips to start teaching your kids how to properly do housework, keep reading!
Turn it into a Game
When you have small kids, it’s important that you teach them that chores don’t necessarily have to be tedious, boring and non-enjoyable. Many people hate to do housework nowadays because it was taught in a boring way, or something you couldn’t enjoy doing. Change things for your children by turning chores into a game. Play some upbeat music while they do it and let them know they’ll earn points for each plate they wash and double points for each pot they wash. Make them water the plants and help them use their imagination so they’ll think they’re explorers around the garden. There are many ways to turn a house chore into a game and they’ll be eager to handle them from now on.
Ask them for their help rather than give them orders
A very valuable tip that will help you when teaching your kids to do house chores is that you ask them for their help. If you try to tell or order your children to do something, they’ll immediately see it as an imposition, and they’ll associate it with an undesirable action. But if you kindly ask them to help you out, they’ll not only agree, they’ll also feel useful and that their participation in the housework is essential, which in the end motivates them to keep on doing it.
Related: How to Teach Your Kids about Money
Remove All Distractions
Even though you could make house chores a fun game for your kids, you should be careful not to include any distractors into this activity. If you allow them to watch TV while they’re doing the dishes, they’ll get distracted and probably end up doing nothing or they’ll take forever to finish. Make the activities you assign to them fun but, also let them know their focus must be on what they’re doing, because this is the only way to get things done fast and effectively.
Get small tools your kids can handle safely and effectively
When you start assigning house chores for your kids and they’re still relatively little (younger than 10 years old), you might want to consider investing in tools they can handle. It’s true that many chores can’t be done by little kids because it wouldn’t be safe, or they can’t even handle big tools with their little hands. Get them a pair of safe scissors, a small blunt knife so they can cut fruit to help during breakfast and even a small watering can they can lift to water plants. Another important thing to keep in mind, is that since your kids are learning to do some house chores, they won’t get them done perfectly at first, so you’ll probably have to repeat the work once they’re done. (This could be the case with dishes that still have some food left on them). The important part is that your kids know they did something and they feel capable of doing it.
Related: How to Discipline Your Kids
Set time limits
A good way to teach your kids to do house chores, and do so effectively, is to time them. We know it’s normal for kids to take a bit longer completing certain tasks, but they should know they can’t take a whole hour doing the dishes when there’s other things to do during the day. You can buy a timer, a small hourglass or, use the kitchen timer, so they know they must complete a specific chore in a determined amount of time.
Reward them for doing their chores
If you’re looking for a way to associate chores with something pleasant, you can set up a reward system for your kids. You could straight up give them little treats whenever they get something done or could negotiate with them with something you know they’re looking for. For example: “Hey, how about I take you to your cousin’s house to play after you’re done with the dishes?” This way you don’t have to give them something physical, but they’ll know there’s something fun waiting for them once they’re done. While rewarding them for doing their chores is a great way to encourage them when they’re smaller, there comes an age when your children are going to have to learn that chores are an obligation, and the rewards need to stop because they’re old enough to know that’s what they bring to the table in your household.
Create a chores chart for everyone in the family
If you have more than one child and you need a more organized way to teach all of them to do their chores and do so in a fun and visual way, you could create a chores chart. Print out the faces of each member of the family and place them in their column in the chart. Each week you’ll write chores for everyone in the family and everyone will get a golden star whenever they did their chore fast, effectively and willingly. Remember to mix it up and make sure everyone gets a different chore every time, so nobody feels like they’re stuck with the worst one.
Give them chores according to their age
It should go without saying but we still want to mention that, even though your children might want to try out different chores, some of your kids might be too little to do certain tasks. You wouldn’t get a 5-year-old to take out the laundry, but your 12-year-old can easily do it. Remember that all house chores assigned should never put your children at risk, and you must pick them according to their physical and mental capabilities.
With these tips you’ll get your kids, no matter what age, to get involved in the housework. Not only will they do their chores without complaining, you might actually teach them to enjoy seeing their house clean and tidy, all thanks to their hard work.