Children and chores are two things that don’t go together.
We all remember that scene in Mary Poppins where the children have loads of fun tidying up. In reality it is very rarely like that.
Ask a teenager to tidy his bedroom and you might as well have poked a sleeping lion in the eye. In our house anyway, there is lots of eye-rolling, sighing, and cries of ‘I’ll do it tomorrow!’ or ‘It’s my room, I know where everything is!’
While I can’t promise Mary Poppins levels of enthusiasm when it comes to doing chores, I can offer some of my top tips for making it fun for your child to join in with the jobs around the house:
1. Make it a game
When my son was younger, and with my daughter now, making chores a game encourages them to get involved.
For example, I have previously made tidying up a treasure hunt. Hide a little treat for your children somewhere in the room they are cleaning – but make sure they have to actually clean to find it. This acts as a great incentive to do their chores, and helps get them into a routine of actually doing their fair share.
There are a whole host of ways you can make cleaning or tidying up a game. You know your children best and can come up with game ideas that suit them. By making it fun in a way that they enjoy, you can make chores fun and maybe even something your children look forward to.
2. Offer rewards
For older children, games aren’t always going to make household jobs fun. I have found that offering a reward to my 14 year old gets his chores done a lot quicker.
It is personal choice whether or not you pay your children to do certain jobs. Personally, I prefer to reward my son in other ways. For instance, we work on a ‘star chart’ basis. Every time my children complete one of their chores, they get a star on their chart. When they get a certain number of stars they get a treat of their choice.
This works really well as when the big treats are within touching distance, my children can’t wait to do their chores.
If you’re using this method, make sure that your children do the dishes, put their laundry away, or tidy their room adequately. Kids can rush the jobs in a bid to earn a reward; by inspecting their work after, you will teach them to complete their chores to a high standard.
3. Include a soundtrack
Music makes everything go much quicker; a long car journey, a gym workout, and now a household clean with your children.
Create a playlist of your favourite ‘cleaning songs’ – be sure to ask your kids to pick their favourites too – and do your chores together. We have a rule that we clean until the playlist ends, and that should mean all the jobs that need doing are complete.
As long as you’re working together and having fun, it will be so much easier to encourage your kids to get involved with jobs around the house. While no-one really enjoys these jobs, it is important you teach your children the importance of taking care of their belongings and surroundings.
What are your top tips for encouraging your children do help with the chores? I’d love to hear your advice!
Rachael Walker is an ex marketing-manager turned full- time mom and blogger. She writes about her journey as a foster carer, as well as sharing the trials and tribulations of parenting. You can follow her journey here.