Tips on Getting Kids to Contribute to the Housework

Families are so very busy today and hardly have any time left for themselves by the time they get everything they need to do accomplished.

According to Pew research, about 60% of families have dual incomes. On average each week, mothers spend 21 hours doing paid work, 18 hours doing housework, and 14 hours doing childcare. Fathers spend 37 hours per week doing paid work, 10 hours doing housework, and 7 hours doing childcare.

Children ages 6 to 12 spend about 3 hours or so on housework but in contrast, they spend an amazing 14 hours or more watching television or playing video games.

It is important for kids to help out around the house but of course not the the point where they are being responsible for adult responsibilities.  Sometimes parents feel that it is just easier to do the work ourselves rather than to take out the time and effort to show our kids how to do a job right and supervise them.  This is understandable as we just want to get our housework done and over with as soon as possible in hopes to get others things accomplished or maybe even enjoy a few minutes to ourselves. It is important to let kids take part in the household chores and here are a few reasons why.

First, it teaches them to keep their home and space neat and clean.  It teaches the importance of being clean and preventing germs.  It teaches them to feel a sense of taking pride of their work by seeing the finished results of their work.  It also teaches them new life skills. It teaches them the concept of being part of the family and part of a team that can work together to accomplish the same goal.  Also, research shows that children feel happier when they make a meaningful contribution to the people they love.

Some helpful tips:  Always do the housework together and try to make it a pleasant experience.  They will associate doing chores as something positive and fun, therefore not making it something they dread, but a nice time spent with family doing something necessary together.

Establish routines for not only the kids but for yourself.  We are creatures of habit and setting the days and times of chores will get them used to expecting to do them – just knowing it is the day to do laundry or take out the trash.  Give them the choices of always taking care of a certain chore, or rotating chores each week. Have a matter-of-fact attitude instead of a demanding attitude.

Keep it easy and manageable for their age.  Be sure that the chore is age appropriate and don’t give them so much to do that it seems they will never finish.  If there is too much clutter, chores can also seem very overwhelming so try to cut down on clutter so that putting things away is easier.  Make sure everything has its own place and the child knows where everything goes.  This makes it a snap.

Clean as you go.  Get your kids into a good habit of cleaning things up as they use things.  Don’t take one toy out until the one they are playing with is put away.  Through out trash when they have it.  Clean the plate and fork they used for a snack, or load it in the dishwasher instead of placing it on the counter or in the sink.  Put their clothes in a designated laundry basket when they are used instead of throwing them on the floor or somewhere else.  Establishing good habits as soon as the kids are old enough for each task is the key to teaching them to contribute to the household chores.

Keeping it pleasant.  Try your best to make doing the chores something family oriented instead of something they will dread.  Your life will be easier.  Incorporate games or a reward system into their chore plan.

Happy Cleaning.


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