5 Simple Things You Can Do To Get Your Kids To Help Around the House
If you have young children, or even teenagers, you probably know the routine well. You spend hours each week cleaning up after them, doing laundry, loading the dishwasher, and picking up toys. But, what if it didn't have to be that way? Here are five simple tips to get your kids to volunteer to help out around the house.
1. Involve Them at a Young Age
Toddlers may be messy and somewhat disorganized, sure, but they love to lend a hand. Capitalize on their natural helpfulness by letting them do some simple chores. Young children will help with just about anything you can think of, so be careful what you get yourself into. Try to keep helpfulness to things that aren't going to lead to danger or frustration. Cracking eggs into a bowl, sweeping the floor, or wiping off the table after a meal are all good examples of what a younger child can help with.
Patience is key when working with toddlers on pretty much anything. Be prepared to go back over whatever tasks they completed, but resist the urge to offer a hand unless asked.
Don't make a big deal about the extra help, either. This study found that when toddlers were rewarded, they were less likely to help in the future. So thank them for helping, but there is no need for a treat or special recognition.
2. Remember That Small Chores Add Up to Big Help
Even little chores add up to a big help. Rome wasn't built in a day, after all. By keeping tasks small, age appropriate, and manageable, you are fostering a sense of accomplishment in your kids. For now, just enjoy that they are willing to feed the dog.
Pets are an excellent way children can start to take responsibility. If they want to, allow them to handle meal times or taking the dog into a fenced yard. Remember that young children should never be left alone with pets, even ones that are amazingly kid-proof.
3. Let Them See You Do the Work
The more your kids see you do around the house, the more normal it will be for them. So, go ahead and take them outside when you hang the clothes or take the dog for a walk. One day you might be having a nice after-dinner conversation while you rinse dishes when, suddenly, your child starts loading the dishwasher. Stranger things have happened.
The truth is that most kids don't realize how much work it takes to make a household run. And they won't learn if they aren't exposed to it. There is no reason to shoo them off when it's time to clean up or do the laundry. Even if they only pitch in a little, your kids will grow up realizing what is expected of adults. Of course, sometimes that means calling in a commercial cleaning company in Phoenix, but everyone needs backup at one time or another.
4. Expect Their Help, but Don't Force It
While you are enjoying that time with your kids, don't force them to help. Let it be a natural extension of spending time together and observing what needs to be done. If you force the issue, you may end up with an argument instead of a helper.
If you are going to ask for help, try making it a team effort. "Let's get these dishes put away together" sounds much friendlier than "please put the dishes away" and will probably get a more positive reaction.
5. Enjoy Spending Time Together
Even if your kids don't offer to pitch in, enjoy the time you get to spend with them. The time will come when a pleasant conversation over dishes is a fond memory you long to recreate.
By taking advantage of natural curiosity and a drive to help, you can raise kids who are willing to help out around the house, possibly without you even having to ask. It might take some work, and you'll definitely want a healthy dose of patience and humor, but the effort will pay off in the long run.