Because they’re the ones that messed it up in the first place.
While we’re often surprised at our kids’ ability and desire to do good, for whatever reason, that usually doesn’t seem to translate to helping out regularly around the house, without being asked. Fortunately, there are ways you can create habits and traditions that will not only lighten your workload around the house, but also teach values and prepare your kids for adult life. Here are some great ways to get them involved:
1. Start Early
Children love to mimic and pretend to do the things their parents do, and this is an excellent tool in teaching your children from an early age that helping out is a part of growing up. According to Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions, “It’s kind of the way kids are wired. They always want to be learning how to do things… The more you teach them how to do grown-up things; it just fosters their sense of importance.” So not only is it helpful to you, but as you already know, it’s extremely beneficial to your children as well.
2. Be Consistent
As noted before, starting early is the best way to help smooth your children into contributing to the house upkeep; however this step is not only important to those younger children, but crucial especially if you’re trying to ease older kids into a chore routine. After sitting down and going over a family schedule with your children, stick to the schedule. Kids will perform their best when they know exactly what is expected from them, so a predictable routine will help smooth things over and stop the complaining eventually. An additional benefit is you won’t have to repeat yourself nearly as much, and over time it will become such second nature for your children, they can explain it to younger siblings should the opportunity or need arise.
3. Invest in Training
Getting your kids to help out around the house won’t mean that you magically have a few hours back in your day. Because your children will be new to these tasks they’ll need to be trained, and you shouldn’t expect them to master any given chore right away. Invest some time into monitoring their progress, and ensuring they do the chore correctly. Mistakes will be made, dishes may be broken, but committing to being positive (chores should be no-nonsense and drama-free) and consistent in your training can ensure that over time your kids can master various tasks, and by then, they’ll be saving you a lot of time, sanity, and maybe even money.
4. Be Specific
There are a lot of big jobs out there we’d like our kids to do that seem simple to us. Cleaning the kitchen, or the yard, or even vacuuming the house seem straight forward to adults, but may seem confusing or even daunting to a child. Break down big jobs into specific tasks that children can easily understand, manage, and account for. Other targeted and simple tasks help teach them valuable skills later in life, like cleaning out the lint trap, clearing out your refrigerators condenser coils, or changing air filters from the furnace.
5. Cater to their Personalities
Kids are their own little people, and sometimes it’s a wonder they have the personalities and quirks that they do. Use this to your advantage. If you have a little A-Type running around, let them be in charge of something. Allow them to organize, sort, or file things you might have been putting off yourself. Are they very methodical in how they approach tasks? Incorporate that into their chores by having them mow the lawn in a certain pattern, or keep the dishes sorted and organized properly.
In all of this it’s important to remember that making it fun is nearly as important as always trying to be positive and consistent. Incentives are something else to consider, but that is a personal matter and should be discussed before implementing. Good luck!
Katie White is a writer and handywoman from DIY Mother who is passionate about self-reliance and conservation. She takes pride in making her home a more sustainable and comfortable place for her husband and two kids. She lives in Dallas.
Image source: Ready for Ten