I wish I had jumped on the chores bandwagon when the children were small. The earlier you start assigning chores to your children the better, right? My little ones always wanted to help me clean or fold laundry…even if I didn’t actually want the help. At times their “help” meant far more work for me as cleaning the floor with a little one wielding a tiny broom meant that I had to manage the larger broom while helping the little one sweep with her broom. Chores with little kids means the chore takes twice as long or more.
My youngest was the most enthusiastic cleaning helper. He inherited the Little Tykes vacuum from his older sisters, but soon demanded a “vacuum like Mommy’s.” He got a Hoover kid’s vacuum, which turned out to be his favorite gift from Santa the year he was 2. He loved that the vacuum had a light at the base and that it actually picked up dust and other dirt. He wore through several sets of batteries. Sometimes he would hear me rev up the vacuum and run to get his own. His older sister was terrified of my vacuum at the same age. But soon his enthusiasm for chores wore off. I wish I had started all three children on chores early.
By the time I started chores, I had two tweens and a little kid. To say that these three were not enthusiastic about chores would have been an understatement. My chore charts and incentives fell on deaf ears. I plodded on for months with my disgruntled band of helpers. Finally, I had a sit down with the kids. I told them that I needed their help. Since I was back at work more or less part time, I needed help keeping up with the household chores. We all had to pitch in to keep the house clean and at least somewhat tidy.
5 Tips To Get Kids Involved with Chores
- Decide what chores need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly.
- Make a list of daily, weekly, and monthly chores.
- Decide whether you will assign a kid to do each chore or if you will assign chores on an as-needed basis. We change sheets every few weeks, so when the sheets need changing I will have each child strip their bed of sheets, put new sheets on their bed, and take the dirty sheets to the laundry room.
- Come up with how you will acknowledge that kids have done their chores. In some families, kids are given an allowance ($) based on how well they did their chores. In other home, doing chores is part of being a family. I tried giving $$ for chores completed, but found it hard to keep track of who had done what chore and when. Now, I tie chores to smartphone and wifi usage. The older two each have a smartphone. With all three children using the household wifi for school work, games, and movie watching, my husband and I decided to toe chores to the privilege of using phones and wifi. This system works so well with the kids.
- Set consequences for not doing chores. In my family, if I ask a child to do a chore and the child decides not to do it, there is a loss of smartphone, internet usage — except for schoolwork, and use of gaming systems. If they don’t do chores, the older two have to leave their phones in a basket in the kitchen, and the younger one can’t play video games. It is such a relief to not have to nag them to do their chores. Now I tell them “fold laundry” or “load the dishwasher” and they do it without questioning me.