Raising a family means dealing with laundry, cooking, cleaning and other chores. Parents often feel overwhelmed and struggle to get their kids to help out, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
Young kids have a natural desire to spend time with their family members and to participate in activities. If your children want to help, find things they can do to contribute in a meaningful way. Letting kids dry dishes or put clothes in the washer can make them feel important, provide a sense of accomplishment and promote teamwork. Allowing a toddler to help might require more time or might initially lead to more of a mess, but that is how kids learn.
Set a Positive Example
Let your children see you doing chores. Kids learn a lot by observing others. You might think that your child has no idea how to sweep the floor, but after watching you do it several times, he or she might do a surprisingly good job if given the chance.
Encourage collaboration as much as possible. If you need to vacuum, ask your children to help you pick up any toys from the floor first. If laundry needs to be folded, get your kids to help fold everyone’s clothes, not just their own.
Create a Routine, but Make It Interesting
Set aside a time every day for all family members to do chores. One child will be less likely to complain about vacuuming if his or her siblings are folding laundry or taking out the trash. Having a designated time for chores can also help children accept them as a regular part of everyday family life. Remind your kids that they can watch TV or play video games after they have finished their tasks.
Make chore time fun. Play upbeat music and sing and dance while working. Let your kids choose the playlist and take turns serving as “DJ.”
Trying a variety of chores can help your kids take on more responsibility and understand how the household operates. If a child enjoys washing dishes, let him or her wipe the counters or sweep the floor. If a child likes to feed the dog and is strong enough, let him or her help walk the pet. A child who likes to put laundry in the washer and dryer can learn to fold clothes.
Treat Kids as Valuable Contributors
Allow your children to help with chores in whatever way they can as early as possible. If your kids feel that they are contributing and appreciated, and chores are treated as a normal part of life, the entire family can work together and avoid conflict.