No matter the size of the home or the family, all parents want to to see their kids help around the house. Sure, it’s to get the kids to take care of their own space, learn valuable life skills, and be responsible for their own things. It’s also about reducing the stress and workload of the adults in house!
There are many strategies and approaches to getting kids to do chores. This is influenced by the experience the parents had when they were kids, as well as family and cultural traditions. If you are feel the burden of household tasks and want to share the work, then read these 5 guidelines to get your kids to help around the house.
1. Be Reasonable
Set tasks and goals which are appropriate for their age and their schedule. Take into account their homework time and extra curricular activities. Don’t set them up for failure, or create stress. For example, don’t ask a child to collect all the garbage and recycling to bring to the curb on the night they have swimming lessons. If garbage day conflicts with a big night in their life, assign them some other task instead.
2. Be Patient
Accept that a child or teen will take more time to complete the task than you would. Don’t push them to hurry, or be critical about the time they take. Remember that you’ve sorted laundry a million times and you could do it blindfolded with one hand - but your child doesn’t have that experience, and will need more time. What’s important is that they are contributing to the household, and getting practise with important life skills that they will need in their own home.
Don’t wander away to do your own thing while the kids are doing their chores. Find yourself a task to do at the same time, or break up a chore so that you are working together. For example - one clears the table while the other loads the dishwasher. This sets a good example for them, and builds an atmosphere of teamwork. Engage with them by asking them to put on their favourite music. Or, get talking about what was in the news that day, or what project is going on at school.
4. Don’t Judge
Nothing will discourage your kids more than saying “you missed a spot!” Resist any impulse to correct them - especially with young kids, or when introducing a new chore. As they get more practise and confidence you’ll see them improve all on their own. Gentle guidance like “I love how you stacked the towels on the shelf - it looks like something from a magazine” will boost their feelings of accomplishment and pride in their work.
5. Don’t Pay
Paying your kids for chores creates the dynamic that they are employees of the house, not integral members of it. It opens the door for bargaining, negotiation, or quitting. They may say “I’ll just skip tidying my room this week because I’m going to that sleepover party - but it’s ok, just don’t pay me. “Or, a child may say “I did half the dishes, so can I get half the money?”
Doing chores isn’t about hiring your kids to work in their own home. It’s about them learning life skills, and confidence, feeling the pride of completing tasks, and feeling like a valuable part of the household.
Stuck on ideas for what to get your kids to do? If you have a regular house cleaning service, there are many ways to get them to prepare for cleaning day. Our next blog post will have age-appropriate tasks for your kids to help around the house.