As parents, it can be hard to know when it’s the appropriate time for children to begin handling chores at home. The Good News? Your little ones can actually begin helping with age-appropriate chores when they’re just two years old. The key to teaching them to help out around the house is easy! You just have to make the process more exciting. Here are some of our favorite ways to make chores a little more fun. All the while teaching your kiddos responsibility, self-accomplishment and what it’s like to be a part of a team (and hopefully, it’ll help you get a cleaner house too!).
Play A Game
There’s nothing children love more than a good game. Turning cleanup time into a fun game can allow your child to participate without even knowing they’re learning how to do chores. They’ll just be busy having fun. With a little creativity, you can turn almost any chore into a game.
Make it fun: Give kids a “10 Minute Race” to see who can collect the most out of place items around the house. Keep score as they put toys away.
Model Good Behavior
If children haven’t been instructed on the right way to complete a chore thoroughly, they won’t know how to do it. If they feel confused about what to do, they may get frustrated and quit the chore altogether.
Make it fun: Let them watch a chore before they try it on their own. When teaching your little one how to set or clear the table, you’ll want to say “Make sure the forks go on the left side, or this is how we fold the napkins …” Once properly instructed, let go and let them try on their own.
Sometimes the best way to learn how to do a chore correctly is to break it down into easier tasks. For instance, if you’re putting away the dishes, you might want to start by just letting them put away the silverware and then gradually advance to all the dishes.
Make it fun: When sweeping the floor, have your little one start by emptying the dust pain, the next time have them sweep into the dust pain and finally have them clean the entire room. Before you know it, they’ll know how to sweep the entire house!
Make It a Challenge
Don’t limit what your child can try. If you have a responsible child that may be able to do a bigger task than is normally required by their age, let them try it. You know your child better than anyone and if they feel confident enough to ask for more responsibility, by all means, let them try!
Make it fun: If your little one does great at sweeping the floors and has recently mentioned mopping, let them try. After mopping, you can suggest that they might be ready to rake the leaves in the yard. Each experience they have will help them exceed their expectations and gain confidence.
Let Kids Invest
Let children play a role in creating what chores to accomplish and how. They might want to be in charge of the chore chart for the week or help pick out special cleaning items at the grocery store. Feeling vested in what they’re trying to accomplish will help them enjoy the experience more.
Make it fun: When taking care of a pet, have your child pick out the brush, food or bones to use when helping care for the animal. Prepping for the big event will help your child feel like they’re playing an active role in the decision-making process, thus making chores a little bit more exciting. It’s always a good idea to make your children think it was their idea!
When in Doubt, Go with Socks
It’s true! There isn’t much to do with socks that isn’t fun. A great way to get children (especially younger ones) interested in chores is to start with socks. Have them match the colors and take them to the correct drawer or put a sock on your hand or feet and go around and clean up all the dust. It’s so much fun, and your house will never be as clean!
Incorporate the Whole Family
Kids shouldn’t be the only ones that get to have all the fun! Make it a point to do chores together as a family. Everyone should be involved to make the tasks go faster and smoother. You might want to have a certain day that is “cleaning day” and shut off all other outside noise. Blast some fun music and have everyone complete their chores at the same time.
Make it fun: Get together for a family meeting and divvy up the chores on a chore chart. Rotate tasks to prevent boredom and let the kids have a say in what chores they really want to do most. If they like what they’re doing, they’ll be more likely to do a good job.
There are so many ways to make chore-time a little more fun, but the truth is that kids are born with an innate desire to want to learn and want to help. By giving them a little guidance, some encouragement and a whole lot of opportunities, you’ll instill in them a lifelong love for helping others. No allowance necessary!