Getting your children to help out with the chores at home is no easy task. They usually come up with some creative excuse such as, "I'm allergic to rubber gloves", or a not so creative excuse like " I have homework." However, instilling a good work ethic in your kids from an early age is important, so that down the line they will know how to wash a dish or mop the floor.
The following tips will help you encourage your children to help out around the house and teach them the importance of teamwork.
1. Switch Up Routines
If you really want to get your kids excited about chores, make a fun schedule for them with different chores they need to carry out each week. Kids will begin to look forward to the feeling of fulfillment after they complete the chore, and as long as they are varied, they will get excited. For example, if you want your children to help out making dinner one night a week, ask them to think up a meal that they would like. To make it even more exciting for them, tell them that the same meal cannot be repeated twice. They will love the sense of responsibility and will look for ways to pitch in.
2. Let the Kids Pick
There is a huge difference between the chores that you would choose for your child to carry out and the ones that he or she is more willing and excited to do. Make sure that your child picks the chores that they would like to do, be it feeding the pets, watering the plants, or clearing up toys. Forcing them to do chores that they aren't excited about causes them to see the chores as menial tasks to avoid. Instead, actively ask your child how they would like to contribute around the house and guide their answer with your own suggestions about what needs to get done.
3. Make Chores Fun
Although this may seem like a lot of extra work on your part, it's actually very simple. Many of us have their own ways of looking at chores in a positive light, or things that we do to make the time pass by faster during the chore. One way to encourage children to participate is to make the chore into a game or competition with a time limit. This will encourage them to step up to the plate and deliver. You could also put on some of their favorite music and have them dance while doing the chore. There are so many great ways to make doing the chore enjoyable for your child that all involve you thinking outside of the box.
4. Make a Deal
While there are some parents that believe it is wrong to 'bribe' your children with a reward for the chore, this is actually one of the best ways to get them to participate. If you promise to do a fun activity together after they help out to clean the house, the child will be more motivated to get working. You can also promise them a special treat after, but try and keep the rewards to things that involve interaction and aren't outright gifts. That way, you know that the child appreciates the time with you, and it is even better for building their teamwork skills.
5. Chores Shouldn't Be a Punishment
Try not to use chores as a punishment for something the child has done wrong. If your child misbehaves, explain to them what they've done, but don't threaten them with a chore to do. The only chore they should have to do after misbehaving is to apologize, and sincerely. Trying to teach your child a lesson by throwing out a task will only further get them thinking negatively about chores, and interfere with their motivation in the future. As mentioned above, make chores as enjoyable as possible!
6. Create a Timing System
Kids are motivated by competition, by setting time goals for your children you are encouraging them to complete the task within a certain framework. If you tell your child that the dishes need to be done in 20 minutes, they will usually put down what they are doing and get to the task. You can also create incentives around the time limit like a later bedtime or a favorite sweet snack for completing the task in a timely fashion. If the child does not immediately comply, show them that the time limit you set is important by giving them an earlier bed time, for example, or forbidding sweet treats for the next week.
7. Don't be Bossy!
This is the most important and most difficult tip. It is so easy to end up in bossy mode when you are trying to get your kids to participate in chores, but steer clear of a negative tone at all costs! Remind your children of their chores kindly, or list it as part of their activities when they ask what's planned for the day. Try not to use words like 'must', 'need' or 'now!' because these will drive your kids in the other direction. Instead, remind them, "Hey kids, it's 5 o'clock. Please don't forget to feed the dog!"
Hopefully, with these helpful tips, you will be able to encourage your children to actively help out around the house and nurture their sense of autonomy. And the last thing to remember - it's never too early or too late to start!