5 Ways to Get The Kids Helping Around The House
To kids (and many adults, for that matter), the thought of doing chores around the house is boring. They'd always rather play than do the dishes or put away the laundry. Unlike adults, kids don't experience the same peace of mind knowing that the floor is swept and the house is clean.
Still, there are valuable lessons that kids can learn by helping around the house, such as a sense of responsibility for one's space and basic life skills that they will take with them into the future. For parents who want their kids to lend a hand with household tasks, consider these five simple ways to get them to help around the house.
Give them a title
Reinforcing how good and helpful your kids are when it comes to chores could be the trick to getting them to do more around the house. In the study detailed on Live Science, researchers found that kids who were asked to be their parent's "helper" when doing chores were much more apt to help out than those who were just asked to "help." Giving a child a positive title when doing these tasks reinforces the fact that they are being good and doing a good job. That way, they'll want to identify with it.
Get them involved early on
Kids of almost any age—excluding infants and toddlers—can help around the house, but their tasks should always be age-appropriate. Young children can perform simple tasks like putting toys away or feeding the pets, and older kids can take on bigger chores like raking leaves from the yard or vacuuming the house. The earlier you start asking them to help out, the sooner it will become part of their routine.
Build a routine, but change up their tasks
Along with getting them to help early on, ask for their help regularly. A few small tasks at the same time each week, even if it's just once or twice a week, is enough to make it a predictable part of their routine.
While keeping chores within their routine, mix up their tasks a bit. You could draw tasks out of a hat, ask them what they'd like to do, or think of some other way to mix up their responsibilities a bit. Always remember to assign tasks to your kids that they can handle for their age and abilities.
If you're co-parenting, consider making chores a part of their routine in both homes, but feel free to change up their tasks in each home every now and again.
Show them how it's done
It's not fair to ask a child to do a chore without them knowing how to do it in the first place. Demonstrate to your kids how to vacuum, sweep, rake, or do other tasks appropriately and safely. Also, make sure that they understand what you expect for the task to be completed.
Be clear about your expectations so that your kids will know just how you want it done. That being said, don't be too hard on your kids for not completing a task perfectly. If your kids tell you that a task is too hard or that they need help, offer your assistance. Instead of forcing them to do it on their own, lend a hand to show that you're in this together.
Give reminders and offer praise
Even if doing chores is part of their routine, kids will likely try to get out of having to do them if possible. If they aren't asked to do it, don't expect them to follow through. Remember to ask your kids to do the chores they are assigned.
Do your best to keep it positive and ask with a "please" and "thank you." Let your kids know how good of a job they did at finishing their tasks, and tell them that you are proud of their work. This will help to keep the idea of doing chores less of a negative thing for your kids.
Doing chores might not be the most exciting part of a child's day, but by learning how to perform household tasks, they are preparing themselves to live independently later on in life. Of course, it is up to you as a parent to decide whether your kids will take part in helping around your house, and these suggestions can be helpful if you choose to do so.
For co-parents who share parenting time, talk about whether or not you each will incorporate simple chores into your children's schedule at each of your homes. If any concerns arise, you may want to bring those to the attention of your family professionals, as they can offer the best guidance to you when navigating issues like this.