Too often chores for kids turn into a power struggle between parent and child. The parent has to constantly remind and nag, and if she turns her back, the child simply stops doing the chore.
This cycle of nagging and frustration surrounding chores isn’t healthy for anyone, parent or child. If everyone is left with a bad attitude, what have you really accomplished, even if the chore is done?
Yet simply not having your kids do chores isn’t a good option, either. They need to learn the basic life skills and work ethic necessary to be functioning adults, and participating in chores as a child is a big part of that.
It may seem like a tall order, but household chores have the potential to bring your family closer together. You can bond through helping each other out, and your children will feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves—they are true members of the family.
Figuring out what works best with your family is probably going to include plenty of trial and error. Here are some suggestions that could help turn chores for kids into a bonding experience for you and your children.
Start Very Young
At around 18 months, kids naturally start wanting to help out. Let them.
You might be tempted to scoot them away when they express interest in helping with something, because obviously they aren’t going to be very good at it. But if you take the time to include your kids in chores at a very young age, then they’ll feel really good about helping mommy and daddy out, and they’ll be much more likely to have a good attitude about helping around the house as they get older.
Set Aside Family Chore Time
Designate a specific block of time when everyone in the house pitches in. If chores are part of a routine, and siblings and parents are all involved, then your children will need less reminders and less nagging. They’ll also feel more like a contributing member of the family, which can develop into a good motivating factor.
The term “gamification” refers to turning a mundane task into a game. Household chores offer an incredible opportunity for gamification, and you and your children’s creativity is the only limiting factor.
You could turn cleaning time into a dance party, or have a race to see who gets done first. Another classic gamification technique is to create a “sticker chart,” but instead of a regular calendar sticker chart, turn it into a board game where their stickers lead to a winning destination.
Don’t Use Chores as a Punishment
One surefire way to make your kids hate chores is to use them as a punishment for bad behaviors. If they associate helping out around the house with punishment, then you’re quite possibly setting them up to be a slob for life.
Ultimately, you want chores to be a positive aspect of your children’s lives. Keeping a tidy home should be something that everyone participates in and everyone enjoys doing. So stop nagging, and use chores to help bring your family closer together.
Do your children hate doing chores? Have you had success in making chores for kids a fun experience for the whole family? Share your stories below, or visit us on Facebook to join the conversation!