Getting Your Child to Help out Around the House

Source: one tough job

It often seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything you want to get done, done. Keeping your family fed, clean, and happy can feel overwhelming. While our children usually are the ones making messes around the house, they can also help keep some of that mess under control. Finding ways to encourage your children to clean up after themselves and play a role in keeping the house tidy is both empowering for them and helpful to you.

Here are a few ideas to get your child to help out around the house:

Find Age Appropriate Activities

While there are many ways your child can help around the house there are some chores that just won’t be a good fit for young children (no ironing for your preschooler!). Find chores that your child will be successful at and also some that will challenge them to learn new skills. Take some time to think about chores that would fit your child’s age and teach them how they can be successful at those tasks. Remember that it might take some time to for your child to master their chores, but once they do they will feel good about their new skill and your family will benefit!

Do it Together

Remember that many hands make light work. Find things around the house that you and your child can do together. Perhaps you can wash the dishes and have your child help put them away (plastic dishes might be a better fit for younger children!). Or you can fold laundry and have your child find the matching sock pairs. Chores that put you and your child near each other may give you the chance to have good conversations and feel connected. You may find that certain activities provide opportunities for you and your child to bond (while getting things done!).

photo credit: Flickr/Sarah Horrigan

Make it Fun

Chores don’t have to be boring! While we often want to get cleaning over with, taking the time to make some chores fun can make it more engaging for you and your family. You can try out some fun games, listen to your favorite music, or just talk to one another as you get things accomplished. Having fun together will help pass the time and also may make your child more willing to help out next time. Your child will learn from how you approach your chores—so remember to have fun!

Avoid linking chores to rewards or allowance

While it may be tempting to offer your child stickers, money, or special treats for helping out around the house it can be backfire in the end. Paying children for helping out around the house teaches them to expect compensation for doing their part to maintain the house. You don’t need to feel guilty about asking your children to help around the house; it helps them build important life skills and gives them a sense of ownership over your home. Additionally, while allowance can be a great way to teach your child about money it doesn’t have to be tied to chores.

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