0312 how to involve kids in chores
Little kid helps her mom in cleaning. Photo: Mom.com

Household chores not only can slim down a family’s to-do list, but it also helps build character. Daily and weekly chores for kids contribute to a healthy sense of routine and structure, allow children to experience mastery of their tasks — which supports self-confidence — and instil a sense of belonging and value to their families, as cited by Raising Children Network.

As you encourage your child to help out, remind yourself to be realistic about your expectations of what this “tidying” might actually look like for a toddler or preschooler! A positive and supportive approach benefits everyone.

Here are 7 easy but effective ways to get your kids involved (and even excited) in household chores:

1. Keep tasks age-appropriate:

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Photo: Your Modern Dad

Chores are most beneficial when a child can perform them successfully. Toddlers, for instance, can help put toys away in a bin, while 3- and 4-year-olds might stack toilet paper rolls under the sink. Little ones may also “fold” kitchen towels, tidy their beds or put tub toys away after bath time.

2. Allow Kids Some Autonomy

Bossiness is not motivating to kids. Letting them give input is essential in preserving their sense of self-reliance and self-assurance. The key is not to use controlling language. Instead of dictating to your kids what they should do, use gentle suggestions such as, "It would be extremely helpful if you..." or "Hey, look, it's 5:00. Time to feed Snowball." Give your kids confidence by also saying, "In our family, kids make their own beds because they look so pretty." The more independent kids feel, the more motivated they will be to take on tasks and accomplish them from start to finish.

3.Offer positive reinforcement:

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Photo: For Modern Kids

Support a child’s involvement in household chores by providing encouragement and expressing gratitude, as opposed to giving praise, Primrose Schools cites. Try saying: “Wow! Look at how hard you’re working! You’re getting this job done! Thank you for being so helpful, you’re saving me so much time.”

4. Work as a team

A simple—and efficient—way to make cleaning more fun is to do some of it together. It never hurts a kid’s morale to see a parent getting into the trenches with him. Play his favourite tunes, then turn your Saturday cleaning into a big ol’ dance party. Bonus: You’re there to demonstrate, so the job is more likely to get done right.

5. Invent more difficult challenges

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Photo: Bellyitch

A friend was trying to get her kids to help out around the house, and a counsellor advised her to give stickers as rewards. The sticker plan worked like magic...until it stopped working a few days later. In the long run, rewards systems usually don't work. According to Parents, give kids chores that are challenging, instead; taking away difficult tasks makes chores even more boring.

If they're already used to helping clean the hamster cage, make it harder by having them clean it entirely by themselves. Then, challenge them to clean it faster. Or, instead of having them pull weeds in the yard, give your budding gardeners a shovel or a wheelbarrow and let them do the harder work of planting flowers or hauling dirt. It's okay if your kids break a sweat!

6. Be a facilitator:

Supervision and teamwork are important in ensuring children’s safety and making sure they complete their assigned tasks. Keep a close eye on progress — and step in to lend a guiding hand if needed — but don’t do the work yourself.

7. Switch up routines

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Photo: Cadence Education

Let your kids take turns planning meals and cooking dinner at least once a week, but inspire them not to cook the same meal twice in the same month (unless it's a birthday request). This allows them to be clever about planning and organizing meals, which makes it a fun activity rather than a dull chore. Also, allow your kids to produce unusual but edible concoctions from recognizable foods. Or, ask them to clean a sibling's room instead of their own for a change.

Training children to appreciate helping in the chores requires consistency. Be understanding when they don’t get it at the first try and be patient when they become cranky at the start. Keep encouraging and teaching your children.
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