Firstly let’s look at the ‘why’s’ – why should they? In the long run, their future spouse will definitely thank you if they can tidy up and have some life-skills around the house. In the short term, a clean house is everyone’s responsibility, not just mum’s! Everybody lives there and should be expected to contribute. And just in case you need more motivation to get your kids started, learning to do a task, help out in the house, be relied upon by others in their family increases kids self confidence and their self esteem. Plus learning how to use the dishwasher, washing machine, wipe a bench is a life-skill and will certainly help them for when they leave home.
Here’s a few of my tips for getting kids to help: Definitely make sure you start when they are young, even a one year old can help, and enjoy picking up a handful of toys. Make it fun: turn on some music, and dance and sing along as you all do the jobs. For younger kids add some imagination, make them a robot or a forklift that carries toys back to their place. Make it predictable: pick a definite time of day, ie. Before dinner (hunger is motivating!) or every Saturday morning that everyone pitches in and does a clean up. Break it down: saying ‘clean up your room’ well that is just too hard, looks too hard and kids will get distracted and do nothing, break it into steps, pick up the books – the clothes – make the bed or write a list and they can tick them off as they go. Have a job list or roster for the week. For older kids, definitely tell them what you expect – when I ask you to take out the rubbish, I expect you to do it within 10 minutes. Praise – talk about how nice it feels to walk into their tidy bedroom, the lounge room etc. Use the word ‘when’, when we’ve tidied up you can turn on the computer, ride your bike, we can all go out….
Remember, don't turn chores into punishment... Chores regardless of your child's behaviour needs to be done so set limits. Also, be consistent and clear with your wording to all children.... Don't say 'Clean your room' as this is vague and it won't get done. Instead say, put your toys in the toy box, books on your shelf and clothes in your closet. Lastly Remember to ..... Don't insist on perfection, Establish a routine, be consistent, keep it manageable and HAVE FUN!!! Chores don't have to be boring, put some music on whilst doing chores and do it together!!!
Make a start today and you will be pleasantly surprised out how your kids can and will contribute to help out the family and be responsible.
For the extended version of this article with extra tips and a list of chores for different age groups just click here and login to your Babysmiles Members page.