While we often sigh before pulling the vacuum out of the hall closet or before unloading the dishwasher for the third time in one night, these often mundane tasks seem electrifyingly exciting to our children. Though your child might not be old enough for a long list of chores, it’s important to give them the opportunity to help out around the home. We also know though that since so many of these activities are enmeshed into your brain as part of a daily routine that you do without even thinking, it can be hard to pause and include them or take the time to explain what you’re doing. Below, we’re sharing some simple tips that you can use to help get your children into a routine of their own, all while getting them to pitch in too!
- Make Cleaning Fun
As the kids get older, the chores become more of … well … chores! If your children see you sighing over these tasks, they’ll associate them with negativity or assume that they aren’t fun based on your behavior. Monkey see, monkey do, right? Create a different mentality for cleaning, even if it’s just on Saturday mornings. Turn on the music, grab your supplies and let them help with manageable tasks. The idea here is to shift the energy surrounding chores all while demonstrating the proper way to get things done.
2. Create an Experience
When I was a kid, my parents put chores on popsicle sticks and stuck them in a jar. It was exciting to pull one of those popsicle sticks out of the jar to see what I “got” to help with that day. Not only did this create an element of surprise, but it kept the routine from feeling stale and allowed me to focus on specific tasks each day which allowed me to get hands-on experience with a lot of different chores from folding laundry to seeing where all of our dishes and cups were supposed to go.
3. Start Simple
One of the big takeaways of chores is understanding responsibility and developing a routine. If your child is still too young to truly take on many chores of their own, start them out with our fun tooth chart that the Show ‘N Tell Schools created this year for dental health month.
4. Use Your Imagination
Kids will be kids, and that means that life isn’t always so serious … even when doing chores! Maybe part of their daily chore routine is having a two-minute prep time for putting together their silliest cleaning outfit. If you need a sous chef in the kitchen, let them pretend to be a chef (often this will result in them actually taking their job very seriously!) by choosing the dressing for the salad, helping to put the chopped vegetables into it and tossing it. Need the table set? Play restaurant!