Parenting Tips: Getting the Kids to Help with Household Chores

The key to getting your kids to help out with household chores is adding a little fun and organization to some otherwise mundane tasks. Kids can benefit from the responsibility of assigned chores and chore lists, and starting young can ensure that you pave the way for the future, as your child will be able to integrate regular household activity from a young age. Read the following tips for what you need to know about age appropriate chores, maintaining a chore checklist, and the ideal types of chores for children.

Doing Chores is Not a Chore!
Make pick-up time fun by turning it into a game, particularly for younger children. Preschool age children respond well to clean-up songs while older children tend to enjoy cleaning more when they are allowed to listen to their favorite tunes. Playing music while kids do their chores will teach them that cleaning doesn't have to be boring or a form of punishment. Be creative and encourage creativity in your children when possible, and turn any chore into a fun game. Play a matching game when children are pairing socks and compare them to "fish" that are then thrown into the "pool" once matched.

Fun Tools
The perfect chores for children are ones that allow them to use new and fun objects such as feather dusters for dusting, child-size brooms for sweeping, or spray bottles for cleaning counters, windows, and other surfaces. Purchase colorful bins to organize any clothing or toys in your children's room. This will not only ensure that there is an appropriate place for items, but make organization fun.

Give Specific Instructions
The more specific a chore is the better. Make sure to be very clear when giving your child instructions about a particular chore. Tell them to dust the bookshelf and put the toys in the bin instead of a vague "clean your room." You'll be surprised at how well your child can achieve specific tasks when he or she receives specific directions. You may want to create lists with pictures and instructions that children can follow step-by-step while completing their tasks. In addition, make sure that the chore you have assigned your child is not too difficult for his or her age and size.

Make a Kids Chore Chart
This is a great idea for parents to use in order to divide certain chores and give credit to children who have completed them. Kids respond well to color. You may want to designate certain colors for each child or stickers to be placed under a particular chore once it has been completed. You may want to create a chore list or chore chart that shows all the work that mom and dad do as well. This will help children understand that everyone takes part in helping with household chores. You may want to write down some chores on pieces of paper, fold them, and place them in a hat. Ask your children to then choose these chores from the hat in order to designate their tasks for the day.

Work Together
Turn chores into a fun family experience that's ideal for bonding. Have "folding parties" where children sit together and fold laundry. Younger children can be given smaller articles of clothing that are easier to fold. Designate a fun activity that can be shared once the chore is completed such as blowing bubbles, running through sprinklers, or eating jell-o.

Be polite and Show Gratitude
Everyone deserves appreciation for a job well done. Thank your child for completing his or her chore, and always be polite when asking for your children's help. Try not to get upset or punish your child with chores. This will only make your child more resistant the next time you ask him or her to a complete a chore. Believe it when you tell your child that cleaning is a valuable skill that will help them in the future, instead of communicating the idea in a threatening tone. Reward your children with activities such as going to the park or the zoo, and hug them for successfully completing their tasks.