As your children get a bit older, you may start thinking about getting them more involved in the day to day tasks that keeping a home requires. Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a spacious single family home, involving the kids in clean up can be rewarding, but it does require training. Kids get excited about helping clean and are curious about dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc at first. After a while, they may seem a little reluctant to want to do chores. These tips for introducing your child to chores will go a long way toward making the passion to help stick.
Use these tips to introduce your child to chores and keep it fun!
5 Tips for Introducing Your Child to Chores
1. Make it Fun
If you want your child to help clean without complaining, you’ve got to make it fun! Get them excited about helping by giving them their own cleaning tools.
Chores deserve rewards. Rewarding a child for doing something that is helpful will make them want to do it again. Even if it’s something as small as a sticker. Set up a reward system, like a sticker chart, can help a child feel rewarded for doing something to help out. Older children may not be as swayed by stickers, so you can use a chart or gem jar to build anticipation for a more desirable reward.
2. Give them a Choice
I’ve noticed that my children seem to want to get more involved in chores when they have a choice. When it’s time to assign chores, ask for their opinion. Would they rather make their bed or help clean up the living room? Let them feel independent by helping to choose which chore they’d like to help with.
3. Set a timer
Most adults get sidetracked when it comes to doing chores, so why would younger children be any different? Setting a timer helps keep your child on track. Go over with your child that you’re setting a timer for 15 or 20 minutes to help them focus and know what they should be doing. Beating the timer, or Mom, can be a great motivator. When the timer is done, do something fun like dance to their favorite music together. This is a great time to reinforce that keeping a tidy home allows you to do fun things like dance all around the living room without stepping on things. ;)
4. Praise a job well done!
Part of the excitement of doing chores is doing a job well and the independence that comes with it. Have you ever heard of a little one say “I do it?” Yes! When they do something well, exclaim how proud you are or how helpful they’ve been. Children want to please you by doing a job well, and they want to experience doing things on their own.
5. Set Clear Expectations
It’s important to explain to your child exactly what they should be doing. Explain which tools/products are used on each surface and the method you want them to use to clean the surface. Should they use a microfiber rag to clean the mirrors; lift the toilet lid and clean the rim; or wipe crumbs into their hand when cleaning the table? Many of these things seem like common sense to us, but we’ve been doing them for years. A lot of times, we as parents fail to be clear with instructions. YOU know that when you say, “Clean your room” you mean put laundry in the basket, put toys in the toy box, make the bed, and straighten the bookshelf.
Just as you’d expect a demonstration AND detailed instructions when starting a new job, your kids need a demonstration and detailed instructions to complete chores as you expect them to. Otherwise everything may end up under the bed or shoved in the closet… trust me, you need to be clear.
When teaching a new chore, use the “I do, We do, You do” model.
- I Do phase – you complete the task while your child is watching and explain everything they need to know to complete the task on their own.
- We Do phase – you work together to complete the task and review the appropriate way to do it.
- You Do phase – allow your child to practice what they’ve learned while you monitor their efforts and offer feedback.
Introducing your child to chores can be rewarding and goes a long way toward teaching responsibility.