If you are having trouble getting your children to do their chores, you are far from alone. Many parents these days struggle with children and families who expect them to do all the work. Thankfully, just because this trend is very common in today’s society does NOT mean that it has to happen in your house. Personally, my boys (5 and 1) are very helpful, and I know yours can be too. Here’s what I did. I bet it will work for you too!
Getting Your Children to do Their Chores
1. Start from an Early Age. You can’t let a child treat you like a maid for ten years and then suddenly demand that he help (well, you can, but it’s not going to go well!). Instead, expect your children to start helping you from an early age and helping mom will be a way of life. Little children LOVE to help–let them!
Not sure what your child can do? Here’s a great list of beginner chores for little ones.
2. Show Them How. Tasks that seem simple to you aren’t so simple for children who have never done them before. Instead of telling your child to go make his bed, put his toys away or carry the groceries in by himself, show him exactly what you want him to do a few times. Show him how to get the blanket on his bed the right way and show him the spots where his books and toys go. Once he knows what to do, he’ll be much more likely to do it!
3. Set Clear Expectations. If you tell your children to go clean their rooms and leave it at that, you can count on the fact that they won’t get much done. Instead, tell them exactly what you want them to do, when you need it done by and what the consequences will be if they don’t do their job. For example, “Please put all of the toys on the kitchen table back in your toy box so we can eat dinner. Dinner will be ready if 15 minutes, and we won’t be able to eat if the table isn’t cleared off.”
4. Follow Through with Consequences. In the above example, if your child doesn’t clear off the table, what do you do? If you clean it off yourself, you are teaching your child that he doesn’t have to listen. Instead of doing it for him, simply let dinner sit on the stove until the job is done. Once he begins to get hungry and sees that cleaning off the table is the way to get food, that table will be cleared in a flash!
5. Make it Fun. Lastly, make chores fun instead of a punishment. Race to see who can pick up the blocks the fastest or have the teddy bears jump as high as they can onto the bed. Offer lots of praise for a job well done, and your children won’t mind helping so much after all!
Bonus: Check out Happiest Toddler on The Block: in just days, these odd, but super-effective tips will help you raise a happier, calmer toddler. Love it!