Let’s be honest, no one likes to clean the house. It is a thankless job. The minute you clean one area, a new mess is being made in the next room. Now that I have two elementary-aged children, I’ve learned through trial and error the best ways to have your children take on some of the daily chores. Developing a chore system that works for your family is not only helpful to us parents, but also teaches our children some important things like responsibility and teamwork. Here are some tips to get started.
Start Them Young
Younger children love to be helpful. That desire starts to dwindle as children approach the double digits. Find chores that your preschooler can help with that is appropriate for their size and age. I would always ask my littlest to dust the baseboards since it was easy for him to get down low and didn’t require much elbow grease. Not sure what is appropriate? Check out this handy list from The Modest Mom Blog.
Don’t Worry About Perfection
No one likes a micro-manager so if your children are doing a task – actually let them do the task! This can be a hard one, but your son or daughter is more likely going to want to continue doing chores if they feel like they are doing a good job. As hard as it may be – don’t jump in and take over.
It Shouldn’t Be About the Money
Attaching allowances to chores can be tricky business, especially in our house. Originally I tried a chore system that led to earning money for the school store. This quickly backfired on me. My children would attach hefty price tags to daily tasks, and it drove me crazy! No, you cannot get $5 for emptying the dishwasher! We’ve just recently found our new groove; they each complete a daily chore (anything from folding laundry to washing windows) before being allowed to have screen time. A win for mom!
A chore system can only work if the expectations remain consistent. When a typical week gets thrown a curve ball, it might be easier to launch into old habits. Try not to do this! If your child gets a feeling that no follow through is necessary, they will likely put their chores off in hopes that they will be forgotten.
Find a System That Works for Your Family!
You know your household the best. Don’t get frustrated if something that works for your friend’s family doesn’t quite fit with yours. Remember that the ultimate goal is for everyone to pitch in and work as a team. However you get to that goal is simply part of the fun.