“Chores”. Might as well be a four letter word swear word. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It will likely take some work and redirected thinking, but it IS possible to get kids to do their fair share of cleaning without threats or bribes. Here are 8 suggested ways to get your kids to clean without bribing them.
1. Confidence & Patience
Children develop at their own pace. Some are ready for tasks at a younger age than others while some need time and space to develop at their own rate. This includes doing chores. I’ve learned as a parent and teacher that we must not judge a child today for how they behaved yesterday. Treat each day like a blank slate in which we give children the opportunity to make better decisions and accept new challenges. How they were yesterday isn’t necessarily how they’ll be today. If a particular child is especially resistant to doing chores, we must be patient and have the confidence that with the proper encouragement and guidance, our children will mature and accept the responsibilities of life. It starts with them knowing that you have confidence in them and their abilities. Read more here.
2. Respect Need for Downtime
School, sports, music, scouting, and more… life is just as exhausting for kids as a full-time job is for adults. When it comes to doing chores, be respectful for your child’s need to rest just as much as you ask them to respect your need for a break after a week of work. They’ll be much more ready to tackle their chores after they’ve had a chance to relax. You might also want to consider giving your children options of when to complete their chores. Not only will they appreciate having options, but they’ll take more ownership in their choice as well. Life seems so much more pleasant when you are a part of the choice rather than when choices are made for you.
It’s easy to forget how hard things can be for children when they seem so simple to us. I often have to remind myself just how short of a time my children have actually been alive compared to my many years of experience. If your kids seem reluctant to do their chores, try modeling for them how to complete the task. Be patient with their lack of experience and continue to demonstrate your expectations until they understand. You can also be a model to your children when it comes to chores by doing your own jobs with a positive and happy attitude. If you maintain composure and tackle your duties with poise, they will too, even if it takes them time. Conversely, if you model a grumpy and bad attitude about chores, your children will too. Read more from Peaceful Parents Confident Kids.
4. Break Things Down
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to cleaning and putting things away, the job’s a lot easier to manage when I break it down into smaller tasks. Rather than folding the entire basket of laundry, I might only fold 5-10 items each time I enter the laundry room. The job still gets done fairly quickly and it doesn’t feel like such a… well, chore. Help your children complete their jobs around the house by teaching them this approach. Another related cleaning tip I always share with my kids is to pick up as you go. If an item needs to be returned someplace downstairs, I will take it with me as I’m already going downstairs to do something else. Chores don’t feel like chores anymore since I was already going that way anyway. Break things down! It really does help.
5. Establish Ground Rules
Set clear expectations for chores and cleaning up and be consistent in following through. Communicate the consequences for not completing tasks and then firmly hold your children to those expectations. For example, one ground rule might be that a new toy can’t come out until the first toy is put away. Most especially don’t cave and complete the chores for them. Remind them of the ground rules and explain how they can fix the situation. Huffington Post shares more.
6. Don’t Argue
When kids want to argue about doing their chores, don’t feed into the drama. Stay calm. Stay firm in your expectations. But avoid argument. Let them whine and complain a bit. Listen to and acknowledge their feelings. And then matter-of-factly hold firm to the ground rules.
Take the chore out of doing chores by making things fun! Add some music or play games to see who can make their bed the fastest (but not sloppily!). You might even race against a clock to see if children can beat their time cleaning the toilet from last week. It doesn’t matter what it is you do to add some fun just as long as it motivates your children to do their work.
8. Tell, Don’t Request
Don’t ask your children if they are ready to do their chores or if it’s okay. Rather than asking,”It’s time to make your bed, okay?”, make it a statement. “It’s time to make your bed.” The end. Doing chores is not a request. It’s what is done. Give them their time to wind down from school or extracurricular activities, but after that, hold firm to expectations. The more they know you mean business, the less they’ll resist and just get the job done. Read more from Huffington Post.