Are there any ways to get your kids excited about chores?
The vast majority of children strongly dislike chores. But, at some point, having your kids help you with a few chores around the house is a necessary evil. Not only are you teaching them some valuable skills, but you’re finally getting a little bit of much-needed help around the house.
How do you turn a huge dislike into something your children get excited about? Lets go over four very simple ways to help encourage and excite your children to help out around the house.
Start Early and Often
It’s never too young to teach your children that being helpful is a great skill set. And, in essence, that’s what chores are. Even when they are very young, showing your children how to help out with a simple task, such as putting a toy away when they are done playing with it, will go a long way down the road.
For example, when our daughter turned one, my wife showed her how to feed the dog. Our daughter loved the dog, and quickly took to the opportunity. Down the road, when we were introducing new opportunities for her to help, we would remind her about how helpful she has been with feeding the dog. This relation helped her to take to new chores that she wasn’t quite as excited about initially.
Don’t worry if you didn’t start when your children were toddlers – it’s never too late. Teaching your children that chores are really about helping will give them an opportunity to contribute.
Show Them the Benefits
Speaking of giving your children a chance to contribute, you can take that a step further by showing them the larger benefits that come from a family that is helpful and contributes.
In his book Drive, Dan Pink says “Chores show kids that families are built on mutual obligations and that family members need to help each other.”
Explain to your children the benefits that come from performing their chores. Not just the benefits that come to them, but that come to the family and household in general. Children love to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and the more you explain the benefits of chores to them, the more they are able to take ownership for what they do.
Sometimes this can be hard to do, but try getting creative. Yard work helps keep the home ready to host friends and family to play in the yard. Laundry keeps Daddy looking good for this meetings and business trips. Dishes help Mom make focus on making meals that each child likes. The more you can cement the larger benefit of a chore to a kid, the more excited they will be to perform it.
Bonus: Align the right chores with the right child
Learn your children and try to give them chores that align with their strengths. And, be open to adjusting how a chore gets done in the name of your child doing it. For example, consider purchasing a lightweight stick vacuum for your child, rather than forcing them to use a large, heavy vacuum.
Create a Process
One of the biggest mistakes parents make when giving their children chores is to now show them how to do it. This creates several problems. First, the child might not know how to actually perform the chore, creating tension, confusion, and apprehension. Second, if they don’t happen to do the chore correct, they might get in trouble, creating even more of an aversion to being excited about chores.
Rather, create a process for each chore that your child can follow. Outline it in simple steps, and slowly walk them through the process. Follow along as they do it, and ask if they have any questions. When necessary, explain why a certain step is there, or why you want them to do it a certain way.
The more you can define the process, the better the child will be able to perform the chore. And, if they feel confident that they can do it correctly, they will be much more excited about it.
Praise, Praise, Praise
Chores can be rather mundane and monotonous. More often than not, your child will probably end up with similar chores each week. Praise goes along way in helping to keep children motivated week in and week out to stay excited about doing their chores.
Try to find something unique to praise your child about each week. Don’t just say “great job on your chores.” Instead, isolate something small and unique that you found that week. For example, saying “You did a really good job moving the lawn this week and ensuring that there wasn’t any cut grass left on the sidewalk. That can be hard to do with our lawnmower!”
If you ever see your child going above and beyond on a chore, make it a point to bring it up and praise them. Not only will that make them feel recognized and validated, but you are encouraging this type of behavior in the future.
Chores are typically not very enjoyable for any of us, especially not for children. Start teaching your children early on about the value of being helpful, and show them how the help benefits the entire family. Model the process from start to finish, and uniquely praise your children as they succeed. You’ll be surprised how motivated and excited your children will be to help around the house!
Allen Michael is the founder and editor of The Stick Vacuums, a website focused on helping others keep a clean home as efficiently as possible.