I once saw a bumper sticker that read: “Insanity is inherited—you get it from your children.” And nothing can verify that statement faster than trying to get kids to help around the house. But tidying up and getting some help in the kitchen doesn’t have to be a battle of wills. Like many other aspects of life, it’s all about attitude. If parents are grumpy about cleaning and act like chores are a big downer, kids will immediately take on that attitude. But cleaning isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, so here are a few tips to make chores less of a… well, chore.
- Words Matter: If something is a “chore” to you, why would you want to force it on your kids? Rewording the concept can remove negative connotations. Chores can be relabeled as household missions, upgrades, enhancements, or improvements. Living room upgrade 2.0 here we come!
- Develop Good Habits: A chore is not a chore if it’s a habit. Remind kids with these old words of wisdom as often as necessary: If you take it out, put it away. If you open, it close it. If you drop it, pick it up.
- Routine Maintenance: This takes good habits to the next level. Chores become habits when they are done at the same time every day or week. With most households on busy schedules, try to set aside an hour on a specific day dedicated to cleaning. Work out the schedule at a family meeting with your kids. This way, they know what is coming and the chores soon become routine.
- Make it Fun: Studies show that kids perform short bursts of work better than long slogs. And you’d be surprised how much can be accomplished in a quick “picking up” marathon. Use a kitchen timer and set it for 15 or 20 minutes. Crank up some music and start a frenzied cleaning period until the bell dings. Then do something else. Your house might not achieve “magazine perfection” but it will be tidy.
- Show Appreciation: After the chores are done, thank your kids and do something fun that they want to do. Everyone likes to be appreciated and a little celebration after some hard work makes everyone happy!