Are chores a sore subject in your household? Most kids aren’t huge fans of making their beds, cleaning up toys or setting the table, but chores are one of those responsibilities that unfortunately just can’t be avoided. Plus, they’re a great way to teach kids responsibility if you can find a way to incorporate them into your family’s routine.
If you’re feeling stuck on how to get your kids involved in the housework, follow these simple tips to get started:
1. Have a family meeting.
Before you randomly assign different chores, hold a family meeting and have an informal discussion about family chores. Explain why it’s important to keep the house clean and that everyone in the house has a responsibility to contribute to chores. Discussing which chores kids prefer can help make it easier to divide them up.
2. Use a chore chart.
Creating a kids’ chore chart is an easy way to keep track of who is responsible for doing what during busy weeks. Hang the chart in the kitchen or family room where everyone has access to it, and consider using stickers to mark when a task has been completed. Small rewards are a nice way to reinforce good cleaning habits and recognize exceptional work.
3. Turn tasks into learning experiences.
Just because kids are cleaning up doesn’t mean they can’t be stimulating their brains and developing new skills at the same time. If they’re helping to set the table, teach them the proper technique (which sides the forks and knives go on, where the cups go, etc.). Or, if they’re picking up toys, have younger kids practice counting or sorting by size and color as they go.
4. Be realistic of their abilities and stay positive.
Small hands and fragile dishes typically don’t mix well, which means that unloading the dishwasher is probably a chore best left for older kids. Set realistic expectations for what kids can handle and don’t expect your younger kids to do an impeccable job the first time around, either; praise a good effort even if it’s not the best cleaning job in the world.
5. Get child-friendly cleaning equipment.
Going along with realistic expectations, it’s unlikely that your four year old will be able to deftly maneuver a giant vacuum like an adult may be able to. Having child-friendly cleaning equipment such as smaller mops, brooms and dustpans will make it easier for kids to complete chores because they won’t have to deal with tools made for adults. Additionally, having personal equipment will likely provide some extra motivation to get the job done.
Once your family understands what’s expected of them and gets into a routine with the housework, chores should run more smoothly and efficiently. If you have any other suggestions for getting kids involved with chores, feel free to share them below!