Chores for kids – it’s a topic that’s been argued for years. Should you make your kids do chores – and if so, how do you get them excited about the process?
As parents, we want our kids to be independent and have the skills necessary for adulthood. But what about when they’re still little?
Chores are valuable for so many reasons. They teach kids independence, responsibility, and grit. While motivating your kids to do their chores might sometimes seem like an uphill battle, these tips will help you get back on the right track.
Benefits of Kids Doing Chores
Kids who help around the house are happier – it’s as simple as that. Not only do chores help to build a strong work ethic, but they also help kids learn responsibility, self-reliance, and respect.
Encouraging your kids to do chores is a great way to bring the whole family together on a shared initiative. You can help your family become closer while improving your child’s sense of autonomy, planning skills, and time management skills.
Chores help kids learn that there are duties in life that must be completed. Kids who do chores tend to be more successful as adults, in school, and in the workforce, than kids who are not required to do so
How to Get Your Kids Excited About Doing Chores
1. Start Young
If there’s anything that makes a difference in getting kids excited to do their chores, it’s starting as young as possible.
This might be something you scoff at – how can you possibly get a toddler to do chores when you can’t even get them to go a day without a tantrum or meltdown?
The reality is that toddlers can actually be quite helpful. Children, especially young children, have an intrinsic motivation to help. Start early enough, and you can engrain some positive habits that are sure to pay off in the long run.
The key is to be patient. Toddlers want to help, but parents are often discouraged from allowing them to do so because it can be frustrating, time-consuming, messy, and slow. However, by encouraging these behaviors now, you’ll be investing in your child’s long-term success.
2. Expose Kids to Chores as Much as Possible
We often tell our kids to go and play while we take care of the household chores, like cooking and cleaning.
However, involving your kids with anything you want them to help out with later in life now is a great way to ensure that they will be excited to do those chores in the future. Kids learn a lot by observation – you don’t need to walk them through all the ins and outs of washing a dish now.
3. Start With Small Tasks
It might seem like a tiny, inconsequential task to you, but to a toddler, he is moving mountains. Invite your child to help with the chore that you are currently doing.
Are you cooking dinner? Invite your child to hold the measuring cup for you. Sweeping the floor? Get him to move a chair.
It doesn’t matter what the task is. The goal here is to get your child to contribute to the chore so that he sees that you are working together toward a shared goal.
4. Work As a Team
Kids like to be doing things with their family – so don’t give your child a “divide and conquer” kind of task. Instead, encourage your child to help you with what you’re doing so that he can enjoy being around his family. This is much more motivating than working independently.
5. Forego the Control
Many people assume that in order to get their kids to do chores – and to willingly do chores – there is an element of coercion involved. That’s not the case.
In fact, the goal of chores for kids should be to encourage autonomy and initiative – not bossing them around. Talk collaboratively and change your mindset. Don’t assume that your child would be happier playing while you do the chores – most of the time, your kid would rather be helping you.
6. Don’t Use Chores as a Punishment
While it’s okay to offer an allowance, a rewards system (like a star chart), chores should never be used as a consequence or punishment.
If a child misbehaves, don’t give them the consequence of doing the dishes. You don’t want to teach your child that a chore is anything except an expected responsibility – something that must be done regardless of behavior.
After all, if you use chores as a punishment for bad behavior, then the expectation is that good behavior will mean no chores at all – and that’s likely not the message you want to be sending.
How Much Time Should A Child Spend Doing Chores?
Many parents assume that by making their children do chores, they’ll somehow be taking away from some of the value of their childhood.
That’s not the case. Chores should comprise a very small portion of your child’s day – ideally, just ten to twenty minutes a day (the times goes up for teenagers).
The key to getting your kids excited about doing chores is making them feel like they’re in control. Give them a chore list with their own tasks, explain the reasoning behind why you want them to do those things (the benefits), and then give them some independence over how long it takes for each task – whether that’s ten minutes or thirty minutes.
They’ll be more invested in helping out when they know what needs to get done and will feel proud that they have some say!
If you want your kids to do more chores – without all the complaining! – try the tips above. You’re sure to be successful in lighting a fire of motivation!