Let’s face it, part of parenting is the neverending list of chores that you have to tackle every day. Taking out the trash, doing laundry, cooking dinner, and generally juggling all the things all combine to create an overwhelming amount of work.
Kids definitely add work to your list, but as they grow up, kids can begin to contribute to the household by helping with chores.
Often, kids are just as unenthusiastic as adults about the more mundane life tasks, but here are five fun ways of having your kids help at home.
1.) Set a Timer for Chores
Part of what makes chores unappealing is knowing that you’ll be taking time away from something else more fun. A timer is a fabulous way to combat this issue.
Choose a time period for everyone to work on their chores. You can change up how long the time is, but I recommend keeping it relatively short (10 minutes), especially if your kids are young.
Setting the time helps kids to engage fully, knowing that it will soon be over. It also gives them a reason to focus and get a move on. If they finish before the time, they can get back to their preferred activities.
2.) Pump Up the Jams
It may not be a spoonful of sugar, but music definitely helps the chores go down. When it’s time to get crackin’, turn on some tunes.
Upbeat music raises spirits and energy, giving renewed motivation to tasks that aren’t all that fun. It brings a party-like atmosphere to something that is decidedly not a celebration. Music even makes picking up all those tiny LEGOs entertaining.
In my house, we rotate who gets to choose the music for our work time, but if someone is doing an exceptional job on their task, they can request a special song or a change of station as a reward.
So the next time your kids grumble about helping out, bust out your favorite playlist and watch the mood change before your eyes.
3.) Give Titles
Instead of just asking kids to help, make them your helper. Designating a title to a child helps them to feel important, and also gives them a sense of responsibility and pride toward whatever task they must accomplish.
I like to make one of my kiddos my “sous chef” whenever I make dinner, and another one is “King of Clean-up” for the meal. It seems silly, but it works.
This trick works best for younger children, but older kids might get a kick out of making their own sarcastic titles up as well. Referring to one another as the “Head Underwear Folder”, or “Chief House Elf” might at least crack a smile and lighten the mood.
4.) Use Gadgets and Fun Tools
Similar to giving titles, using whimsical cleaning supplies or interesting gadgets can really spice up an otherwise mundane chore.
Kids might enjoy fun gloves when they have to wash dishes or clean a bathroom. Bring a little science into the task by whipping up your own cleaning solutions with a chemistry set. Use a cutesy duster on the furniture and kitschy sponges to wipe down surfaces. Children of all ages (and let’s be real, adults too) will also appreciate any time you get some new gadget or tech to make things easier.
I got a cordless vacuum a year ago and for a solid month, every member of my family fought over who got to use it each night. While the vacuum wasn’t faster than a broom, it was tons more fun to use. It took a while longer for the shine to wear off completely, and even now, it’s more fun to vacuum each day than it was to sweep. Who knew?
5.) Make a Check List
While I love a list for pretty much every eventuality, a checklist really helps when it comes to getting kids to help out at home.
A list makes a clear statement about what needs to be done. Family members can divvy up the list, or choose to tackle a few items together, and then cross them off as they are completed throughout the day or week.
Checklists not only help keep things clear and organized, but they also show progress and success, as one task after another gets crossed off and you get closer to the elusive finish line.
Of course, the list tends to regenerate on a daily or weekly basis, but it’s still helpful to keep track of everything you need to do and have already done!
It’s Worth It
Kids learn so much from doing chores. As parents, our job is to raise kind, caring, independent individuals who will contribute to society. This means that by the time they grow up, children need to be able to mostly take care of themselves: cook, clean, wash clothes, and pay bills.
As with all things, the best way to learn something is through hands-on engagement and interaction. What better way to learn these life skills, than through helping at home?
I know that sometimes having kids help out can make the tasks more complicated and last longer, but in the end, it’s worth the effort.
Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase.