Teaching our little ones to do the housework, instead of just… creating it, can be really hard. Nope, you are not the only one who comes into a room to find total chaos – sometimes, it feels like Middle East peace talks would be easier! It is much simpler to talk about turning children into responsible helpers than to actually make it happen; but the effort is totally worth it.
If we choose a chore that is too hard for our children, it will be discouraging for them. On the other hand, if we aim too low, they may get bored! A little bit of challenge and danger makes it fun for the kids; we just make sure to supervise!
Yes, we can make our cleaning stuff friendlier for our little helpers; we just have to put the detergent into a fun box, use old socks with funny patterns as dust mitts, or buy a child-sized apron with our kids’ favorite superheroes on it.
We make housework a part of our family’s weekly routine. If we iron the clothes while our 13-year-old son waters the plants and our 8-year-old daughter puts her things away, it’s just chore time – no one feels punished!
In general, the reason our kids don’t like doing chores is the same reason we don’t like it too; household tasks are boring. But, hey, we can always turn them into fun activities. Cooking time can be great if our kids pretend to be chefs and waiters. Laundry can involve games such as matching and tossing socks in the basket.
We can make a list of all the must-do chores and let our kids take turns choosing. They’ll certainly feel more empowered if they think their chore was their idea or choice. Many parents use chore wheels or jars of jobs – Pinterest always has a bunch of ideas for these things; so, if you want to make this process a bit funnier, go online and get inspired!
We can’t expect our little helpers to master their tasks right away. And we shouldn’t be tempted to step in and take over even if a chore is taking ages! It’s important to resist criticizing and let our children do chores imperfectly, even if we can do everything better. Otherwise, how will they learn?
Every worker performs better with praise. A simple “great work” or “wow, that looks so much better than it was!” recognizes our children’s effort. And we don’t forget to say “thank-you” and give lots of hugs; kids of all ages are more inclined to help when their efforts are appreciated!
Sometimes, all our kids need is some reward. Maybe it’s staying up an hour later. Maybe it’s having more TV time. We can also make technology goodies – like computer games – contingent on certain chores being done.
Introduce the babysitter to your family’s chore ritual and talk her into thinking even more creative ways to have kids clean their rooms and pack their toys and clothes; a handy lesson to their future autonomy!
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