You may not realize this, but one of the best things about having kids is that they can be taught to help out around the house. And if you teach them right, they’ll actually love to pitch in.
Well, most of the time.
The truth is, participating in running the family home is an important part of growing up, gaining independence, building confidence, and learning compassion. It’s also an important part of parenting; moms and dads are doing a disservice to their kids if they fail to teach them these necessary life skills.
Your first step in making chores fun is to stop calling them chores. Call them to-dos, tasks, jobs, or whatever you want; the trick is to imply that they aren’t something to be dreaded, but vital roles we all play to make sure we can enjoy and support our family.
1. Meal prep
There are several ways kids can help put food on the table, and none of them violate our current child labor laws. Slicing vegetables for the dish, stirring pots, making sandwiches and salads, filling water glasses, setting the table—the list goes on. Have your child pick a task to start with or draw it out of a hat to keep things interesting.
Keep the fun alive by looking at cookbooks as a family (helping decide what to eat is a very big chore in our house, even for the adults) and encourage your kids to take more and more ownership over the meals they eat.
2. Watering plants
We’ve written several blogs about the awesomeness of houseplants on our Maids blogs, and many of you have incorporated them into every room of your home. Enlist the help of your kids in their care; not only will it help teach them responsibility and a sense of rhythm in their weekly habits, but it also demonstrates the direct cause-and-effect of awareness and compassion.
Keep the fun alive by letting them pick out plants of their own.
3. Getting the mail
The great thing about this task is that it’s an almost daily one, perfect for kids who need something to do all the time. Plus, opening the mailbox and finding only bills is only a downer if you’re the one who has to pay them.
Keep the fun alive by occasionally “mailing” your child a letter or encouraging a pen pal relationship with a cousin or long-distance friend.
4. Unload the dishwasher
This was one of the first chores I ever gave my children, and for a really good reason: it’s one of my least favorite things on the planet to do. I detest it so much that I actually designed my kitchen remodel around the premise that plates, cups, and silverware should be below the countertop and within reach of children. One of my more brilliant ideas.
Keep the fun alive by occasionally leaving huge THANK YOU notes in the (clean) dishwasher racks.
5. Clean their rooms
I know what you’re thinking. There is nothing about cleaning a bedroom that a child would love to do. I occasionally threaten suggest to my children that they take turns cleaning a bedroom that isn’t theirs. (My daughter is often motivated to clean her own on this premise alone). The trick to this one is to remind them to pick up their rooms before they go to bed or before they are allowed to play electronics. As we all know, the house stays cleaner if we do a little bit every day.
Keep the fun alive by putting on headphones and listening to your favorite songs while your children complain.