It’s wonderful when kids help around the house. They pick up their toys, run laundry through the wash, and reduce the number of chores you have to do. But how do you encourage kids to help around the house without yelling or nagging all day?
1. Give small assignments
Nothing is worse than being told to pick up the playroom and walking in to see toys piled up to your kneecaps. Instead of assigning the entire playroom, assign a small task instead. Tell your child to pick up the dolls, cars, or the blocks. Once that’s done, give the next chore. An elephant is eaten one bite at a time, but kids just don’t know where to start.
2. Race to finish first
Have a race to see who can finish their task first. Can your oldest child pick up the blocks before your youngest picks up the cars? Can the children complete their job before you finish yours? Cheer, yell, and have fun as you race through the small tasks.
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3. Chores before Meals
Put chore times right before meals. Have children run through morning chores before breakfast or evening chores before dinner. No one eats before all the chores are complete. This tip works wonderfully with hungry boys.
4. Sticker chart
Put up a sticker chart. Each day the chores are completed to your satisfaction, stick a sticker on the page. Celebrate with a pizza or movie day when the kids cover an entire sheet with stickers.
5. Sing while you work
Singing while you work makes daily chores fun. See how many songs you and your children know. Sing through hymns or folk songs. Sing through your favorite songs from movies. Sing as a family while you work. Singing makes time to pass quickly and the work to become lighter.
6. Pretend to be Cinderella and her friends
Little kids have vivid imaginations and love to pretend. Take advantage of their imagination and let them be Cinderella for chore time. Have fun cackling and assigning chores to your children.
7. Play games
Turn chore time into a game. See who can toss blocks into the bucket. Set the buzzer and race to beat the clock. Hop on one leg as you work. See who knows the funniest songs. Race to put laundry away.
8. Fold Laundry while Watching TV
My mom taught me to fold laundry while watching TV. Let the kids watch, but they have to fold and put away while they do so. Commercials or breaks between shows are the perfect time to dash around the house putting away the laundry that was folded while watching a show.
9. Pick up House then special treat
When my house gets truly overwhelming, I’ve been known to pick up a special treat for the kids and me. We divide up the house. We scrub, we sweep, we mop, and we work harder knowing we have a special treat waiting for us after we’re done.
10. Don’t criticize, encourage & gently correct
Kids don’t know how to clean properly. Things we believe are common sense, are strange concepts to small kids. Kids are going to make mistakes. They’re not going to clean correctly all the time. Don’t criticize your children’s best efforts. Simply show them how to do it again before gently telling your child to try again. Kids do learn, it just takes longer than we expect.
What are your favorite ways to encourage children to help around the house?