Keeping it together as a family is a team effort, and a very important one. Everyone needs to contribute, to make it work and distribute the load somehow evenly.
According to recent studies, kids between 6 and 12 only do 24 minutes of housework a day, which is a considerable decline from previous years.
So, how do you motivate your kids to participate in daily chores, and contribute to the wellbeing of the family as an entirety?
In this guide you’ll get useful ideas on how to motivate kids of all ages to participate in the daily chores.
Toddlers and Preschoolers like to Copy Mom, Dad and Older Siblings
Taking the first steps are important, as it lays the foundation of your kids behaviour later on. Little kids are usually very enthusiastic by nature, and they’d love to pitch in and do what you do. In the beginning you can let them help you with small tasks, for example picking up something in the grocery store, or you can teach them how to clean up if they spill something.
Doing these tasks might seem simple to you, but it will adjust their mindsets in a way so it feels natural for them to pitch in and help whenever it’s needed.
Don’t Expect Too Much of Your Elementary Schoolers…
…But praise them for what they do! Kids between the age of 5 and 10 years usually love to contribute with whatever you need done… However, there’s a BUT: Don’t expect your kids to do things perfectly. Perhaps they forget to put every glass upside down when taking them to the dishwasher, and they might need to change clothes after helping you wash and peel potatoes. Kids this age are getting increasingly conscious about what they’re able to and, in particular, what they’re unable to. If you keep pointing out what they’re unable to, they might lose interest because they become aware of their imperfections.
As a parent, this is an important lesson: Praise your kids for what they do, instead of reminding them what they don’t do.
You should also check if you have the right equipment, so your kids are able to use them for doing the chores. A great way to get them started, is to make sure they can handle the vacuum cleaner. If you have an old and super heavy vacuum, it would most likely be beneficial for you and your family, to get a new one. Try searching for vacuum cleaner reviews on sites like ours or similar, to get an idea of what to choose.
Encourage Your Middle Schoolers to Be Proactive
Kids between the age of 11 and 13 can do many things on their own. This is where you should teach them to become proactive and contribute to the household without asking them or telling them what to do.
In this age, your kids will be able to seek out tasks on their own. One of the most important ways of encouraging this behavior, is by asking them keep an eye out for things they can do. If mom’s in the kitchen peeling potatoes, they should be encouraged to ask if there’s anything they could help with. They should be asked to always foresee the next step in a task. So instead of walking away from the dinner table before it’s cleared, they should be teached to anticipate contributing when clearing the table and cleaning the kitchen afterwards.
Another thing you can teach your kids in this age, is to be conscious about issues around the house. Let their opinions be heard, and talk to them about things around the house. Perhaps the garbage can is usually overflowing, which is a great opportunity to involve your kids between 11 and 13 years. Ask them what you can do about it, and let them contribute with their ideas and solutions.
Trust Your High Schoolers with Bigger Tasks
Kids between the age of 14 and 18 years usually consider themselves young adults, and most of them have the abilities to do most things that adults do. However, some parents still want to keep them away from certain tasks, and that’s a shame. Young adults should be trusted with difficult and laborious tasks, as it will boost their confidence and provide them with a set of skills that they most likely need in their adult life.
You should expect them to do things on their own, without you having to interfere. It could be tasks like cleaning out the basement, redecorating their own rooms, or even cleaning the car. It will help them understand how important their roles are in the family, and they will potentially lift off a very heavy burden of your shoulders, by pitching in and contributing to the everyday family life.
It’s a team effort
Doing the chores is a team effort. Your kids aren’t little workers or servers, nor should they be treated as such.
Here’s a few things to consider, if you want this to work perfectly:
- Expect your kids to help. If they ask “why?”, a simple “because I need you to” is enough. Kids need to understand that their contributions are necessary to make the family life work.
- Be thankful. Whenever your kids complete a task, small or big, you should thank them for their effort. Don’t overdo it, but acknowledge what they did, and be thankful.
- Be fair. Don’t expect your kids to scrub the floors and polish the silverware, while you sit on the couch sipping margaritas. Remember: It’s a team effort. Grab a mop and work side by side instead.