From tidying their rooms to cleaning up after the pets, we tend to assume our children will run a mile from doing household chores. But with a few savvy parenting skills, you can get them on board – not only will they appreciate the sense of responsibility it gives them, they might even enjoy it!
Start when they’re young, and make a game out of it
It’s hard to imagine, as your tiny tot flings brightly coloured plastic around the house, that you will ever be able to teach them how to keep things tidy. But the truth is, the toddler years are actually the perfect time to get kids involved in chores.
Make clean up as much fun as possible – sorting and putting away toys by colour and having a competition to see who can gather the most blocks, marking up reward charts with silver and gold stars as you go. This helps make tidying up a part of play itself.
You can also get them involved in cooking from around age two, then make post-meal chores like doing the dishes a treat – they’ll enjoy sloshing the water around and playing with the millions of bubbles created by just one squirt of Fairy Liquid.
It might take a bit longer than usual, but you’ll create a fun routine around cleaning up that will help keep the house sparkling for years to come.
Use milestones as a way to introduce new chores
Landmarks in your children’s growth, like moving into a bigger bed or starting a new school year, are the perfect opportunity to give them more responsibility over keeping their rooms tidy.
Get their help in choosing a special desk or bookshelves where they can keep things organised, and remind them that it’s their job to make the most of this beloved new piece of furniture or storage.
Create pet-care habits according to age
Agree on regular times to care for pets – whether it’s a Saturday morning or a mid-week family event – and stick to them, with even the tiniest children getting involved. Give them a chore appropriate to their age, from washing pets’ dishes for the younger kids, to helping clear out hutches or removing pet hair from floor and furnishings as they get older.
If you haven’t got a pet yet, but you’re thinking about it, check out our article on picking the right pet for your family.
Let them choose their chores
List all the household tasks and ask each child which ones they’d like to do. This can include organising and lining up schoolbags at the front door the night before, doing the daily dog walk, sweeping up a few times a week, and more.
Give each chore a ‘value’ on the reward chart – whether that’s a perk like going to bed a bit later or an actual monetary amount. You probably won’t have trouble filling up the higher-value tasks.
Every mum has at least one fail-safe method of getting the kids to help around the house – what’s yours? Let us know in the comments section below.