Yes, it may be easier, but that doesn’t always mean it’s better.
Studies have shown that children who start helping out around the house from a young age grow up to have a sense of empathy when they’re grown. Their relationships are better and they’re more successful in their careers.
In spite of this finding, however, a Braun Research survey done in 2014 showed that “82 percent of grown-ups polled said they had regular chores when they were growing up, but only 28 percent reported asking their children to do any.”
An unwillingness of the parents to add more things to their children’s schedules which were already packed with extra-curricular activities is a big factor in the trend.
While this might seem like a reasonable decision, in reality not requiring children to participate in helping the household to function shortchanges them. When they’re out on their own, will they have the skills to keep their place clean? Do their laundry? Cook their own food?
If they don’t acquire these skills while they’re at home, they will have a much harder time when they leave the nest.
It may not be easy getting your kids to help around the house, but this summer is the perfect time to get started. If your kids are already doing chores, read on for some ideas on how you can reduce the grumbling and get them excited to help.
Give out titles
This works especially well for young children because they love to be seen as good.
Rather than simply asking your child to pick up their toys, ask them to be your “helper”, giving them lots of praise for simply doing as you’ve asked. The more positive reinforcement you give, the more they want to participate and the more they participate, the more opportunities for you to praise them for helping out.
It creates a positive chain of events that feeds into their ego and helps to build empathy.
Start while they’re young
If your kids are young, give them age-appropriate chores to help around the house.
In addition to cleaning and picking up their own rooms, clothes, grooming tasks, etc. they should be given tasks that help the household run such as feeding the dog, raking leaves from the yard or vacuuming the floors.
Their chores will be such a part of their daily schedule that there should come a point where you won’t need to remind them…they’ll simply do what needs done. As they grow older, more chores can be given as they’re able, which will help them grow into responsible adults.
Make chores routine
Chores should be part of everyone’s daily and weekly routines, but to keep things interesting change up the tasks.
Have everyone draw tasks out of a hat or set up a rotating schedule and write it on the calendar to help keep track. Create checklists if needed that go with each task to help everyone know what needs to be done before something is considered finished.
To avoid frustration, make sure that the assigned chores are age appropriate.
Give guidance on the process
Show your kids how the chore should be done by doing it with them the first few times. Then, when they’ve done it on their own praise their efforts.
If they miss something, praise them for their efforts, show them what was missed by cleaning it yourself, and then let them know they can do it the next time.
Bottom line, praise your kids’ efforts and you’ll encourage them to continue helping and to try even harder to stay on top of their chores.
But what if they’re older?
If your kids are older and you’re just now trying to start getting them to help with chores you’re going to need a game plan.
The best way to motivate older kids to help is to do all of the chores together, as a team. This will give your kids a great feeling because they see how important their contribution is to the household. Which will in turn encourage them to continue helping.
It’s a slow process, especially for some personality types, but it is possible to get older kids to help out around the house…you just need to be consistent and patient to see results.
Make it fun
When it comes time to do chores, make it fun and time will pass quickly for both you and your kids.
Turn on some music and dance while you’re working. Or maybe hold a race for who can match the socks fastest…when you make it fun, the time flies by fast.
And if you time it right, plan some family fun after the biggest chores (e.g. Saturday house cleaning) are done to encourage everyone to pitch in and help.
Bottom line, if your kids feel like they’re making a contribution and that the contribution they’re making is resulting in them getting really good at something (e.g. wiping down the kitchen table) they’ll begin to take pride in what they do when you heap praise on their contributions.
And when they take pride in what they do they’re much more likely to take the initiative to do their chores without you having to nag them all the time.