It’s a fact of life: chores have to be done around the house to keep things in order. There are a number of home improvement projects to be done. But when you have kids to feed, pets to walk, PTA meetings to attend, and a spouse to support, even the smallest chores can seem daunting. And getting help from the kids? Forget about it! However, there are ways you can get your kids to help you around the home and with projects without feeling like you’re pulling teeth. Here are three strategies to help you get your family involved with chores without hearing whining and complaining the entire time.
1. Know Their Limits
While your kids can’t very well clean your home the way you may like it to be cleaned, it’s important for them to learn the basics of how to clean along with the reasoning for why to clean. This means that you need to teach them both how to do the technical tasks and the point of accomplishing these tasks. When a child understands both sides, they will be more willing to contribute.
Make sure you ask your children to contribute only what is possible for them to do—don’t set them up for failure. WebMD suggests setting chores by age range. For example, young children can put away toys and set the table while older children can load the dishwasher and help take care of any pets. This type of system helps your children build upon their knowledge of chores to come out of your home as well-adjusted adults.
2. Ditch Negative Reinforcement
Chores shouldn’t be seen as punishment, especially for your children. If you want to instill in your children that chores benefit everyone in the home, using these tasks to negatively reinforce wrong-doings will only encourage your children to resent them. Rather, James Lehman of Empowering Parents advises parents to only use chores as a punishment if your child harms one of your other children. Then the child in the wrong should be told that they are doing the chore for their sibling as a form of service in order to make amends.
3. Make Chores Enjoyable
While chores may be a necessary evil, you don’t need to make your children suffer through them. Doing chores and helping around the house can be a time to bring your family together in an attitude of fun and laughter. Eileen Kennedy-Moore of Psychology Today recommends for parents to make chores exciting by playing music while you work, use fun cleaning supplies and tools, or completing each task as a group. All of these tactics will help your children feel that chores are something the family can bond over and spend time together doing in an atmosphere of love and enjoyment.
You really can make doing chores a good experience for your kids. Try implementing the three tips above to see your children’s attitudes about housework and chores improve immediately.