As your children grow, it’s quite likely that you want to get them doing chores. Chores will help them learn how working feels, teaching them values and benefits of work, whilst also understanding more about growing up and looking after a home themselves. This may sound like a lot, but a small number of chores can go a long way in a young child’s development.
So, you want your kids doing chores but how do you achieve it? Sometimes even the smallest task can be viewed as a tantrum-worthy punishment. Read on for some expert advice surrounding chores, cleaning, and how to teach your kids to get involved.
Teach the Value of Cleaning
Teaching the value of these chores is more important than you might think. Letting them know that these are important, valuable tasks that are not just designed to be boring and frustrating can help them understand why it needs to be done. For example, instead of just begging and pleading with them to do the dishes, explain from a young age how unclean kitchens can lead to tummy bugs and other illnesses. Your child will learn the actual value of cleaning the kitchen rather than thinking you are just forcing them to do a task that you don’t want to do yourself!
Make Cleaning Easy For Them
You can also help yourself - and everyone else involved - by making the cleaning tasks as easy as possible. If you try this multi surface cleaner that’s eco-friendly and child-safe, for example, you’ll find that you can send them off to clean just about anything with no risk. It’s much harder to teach children the dangers of certain cleaning products or ask them to use an array of different products on different surfaces. Instead, one easy-to-use multipurpose cleaner can make everyone’s lives much easier and less stressful.
Start with small tasks, too, instead of massive ones. Asking them to clean an entire bathroom is crazy, especially at a young age. Instead, ask them to clean one small area of the kitchen or just the dining table after each meal. This way they learn how to clean, the value of it, and can work up towards bigger tasks as they grow up.
There are, of course, plenty of other chores aside from just cleaning up. It’s up to you to decide which chores you think are most suitable for your kids and your household. Many parents suggest that their children take out the trash before collection day. However, if you live in an apartment with a garbage chute, you probably don’t want your kids anywhere near that chore.
Other chores include things like setting the dining table, loading the dishwasher, taking the washing out, or even cleaning the car. Whatever you choose, decide what you think your kids can handle and can do safely.
Set a Time Limit
One of the best ways to encourage children to finish their chores is to set a time limit. For example, tell them that they must load the dishwasher within 20 minutes or their bedtime will be brought earlier. Yes, this is a threat, but it’s only a little one! You don’t want the punishment to be too intense, causing angry fights and rifts between yourself and your kids. But, little punishments for not completing - or attempting to complete - tasks are no problem.
Chores or Boredom
Chores seem like chores because kids often assume the alternative is far more fun. “If I didn’t have to do chores, I could be on the Xbox!” Well, take this fun idea away and they might be far more encouraged to take on their chores. The alternative to doing chores should be doing nothing. Boredom is one of the most feared feelings in children. So, don’t let them run away from chores and play video games, oh no. Instead, tell them that a lack of chores will lead to a lack of fun time, too!
Many parents feel it is appropriate to give their children an allowance from a certain age. The age you choose is completely up to you. But, if you do give an allowance, it’s often recommended that this money should be earned rather than just given to your kids. Say you set their allowance at $10 per week. Every time they refuse to complete their chores on a given day, you dock them $1. So, if they do no chores, they only get a $3 allowance for the week. For extra encouragement, you could offer them a bonus of $5 if they do all their chores in the week without complaining!
Other Reward Systems
If a financial reward is not suitable due to your kids’ age or any other reason, you can use a whole bunch of free rewards to keep kids motivated. Keep a chart on the fridge or kitchen wall to monitor how well your children are doing their chores. Every time a row is filled, offer your child some chocolate or the chance to stay up late one night and choose a movie. Simple rewards can often seem super exciting to kids, encouraging them to work hard at their chores.
Structure Can Help
As mentioned, a chart and performance review-type scenario can help. However, simply structuring their chores can help too. Make Tuesday the bin day, Friday the kitchen day, and Sunday the washing day. Set 6 pm for all chores times, giving the kids the structure and the routine to know when they have work to do. This can also greatly help with preparing them for what the “real world” is like!
Chores Shouldn’t Be a Punishment
Finally, chores should never be viewed as a punishment. You want your kids to view them as essential or a responsibility that they willingly undertake rather than only to be done as a punishment. They need to understand that some things in life are expected of them!
Hopefully, a few of these things combined can help you get your kids willingly doing chores. It’s never an easy task, but once the routine and reward systems are in place, you’ll find your kids working hard with little to no persuasion.