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Using chores to teach kids

Chores are a regular part of everyday life for anybody who doesn’t have a maid. Whether you’re working or staying at home, the house ends up getting messy and somebody has to help take care of it. Laundry, dishes, picking up toys, vacuuming, the list goes on and on. This can be exhausting, particularly if you are working and the demands of home are combined with the demands of work.

So how do you get housework done, without exhausting yourself to the point of insanity? Get the kids involved! Involving kids with housework, especially the lighter jobs they can do, is a great way to both teach responsibility and get the jobs checked off the list at the same time.

Here are some things to keep in mind when getting kids started with the chore system.

Age appropriate chores

Kids like to be challenged on balance, not too much and never too little. Give your kids chores that will keep them genuinely busy for a bit, but leave them with plenty of free time. For young kids, maybe this means picking up their room, whereas older children could be responsible for keeping the kitchen tidy throughout the week.

To pay or not to pay

Kids generally work better if there is some sort of incentive system. Maybe let the child who finished their chores first for the week pick the family movie that week, or the one who did so without complaining to choose a board game for you all to play together. By rewarding the kids with family time, rather than cash, you are still incentivising but without making kids feel like they will get paid for everything that they do.

Motivating young kids on chores
  • Use simple tasks that they can do like picking up their room, or watering the plants
  • Track their progress so they can see how well they’re doing. For young kids, this is often as easy as buying a package of stickers
  • Make chores a game wherever possible – maybe offer a monthly prize or some type of a reward system
Motivating older kids on chores
  • Thank your kids for the chores that they complete, and recognise a job well done
  • Set a good example, particularly for older kids who are watching your work like a hawk
  • Make sure kids know that if they don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. This will encourage them to take pride of ownership in the work that they’re trying to accomplish

No matter what age your child is, they can get started helping around the house. This doesn’t have to be a pain, but can instead be a game or an incentive to contribute to the household. Kids may gripe initially, but the lessons they’re learning about running a household, and the sense of responsibility they’re working on by doing these simple tasks, is more than worth the initial bouts with attitude.

As a bonus, it’ll stop you getting run off your feet between work and home life. Let kids get involved so you can have more time to invest in them!