6 ways to get kids to do housework
By Lana Verco |
6 ways to get kids to do housework

Teaching your kids to do the housework, instead of just creating it, not only lightens your load, but also teaches them lifelong domestic skills. Here's 6 ways to get your kids to do housework. No kidding!

1) Brrring! It's tidy up time

Make tidying up a part of your kids' daily routine - just like homework time, or bedtime stories, but be clever about the timing. For example, a 10 minute tidy up before their favourite TV program starts, or just before dinner is to be served, will spring them into action.

Have a random tidy up bell for outside of normal tidy up times also. This is especially handy after a messy craft project, or when visitors are on their way.

2) Giggles and grime

Play some music and dance around with your kids while cleaning so they associate housework with fun instead of drudgery.

Turn everyday household chores into games. When tidying up toys, set the kitchen timer to see how many toys can be put away before the timer goes off and, when folding the washing, get your kids to match up the socks and toss the balls back into the basket, like shooting hoops.

Give little ones a feather duster. They'll love sweeping dust off furniture and surfaces with something big and fluffy!

School kids love spray guns so ask them to clean the windows with glass cleaner and spray ‘n' wipe the kitchen bench using a surface spray.

3) Child-friendly cleaning

Make your cleaning products more kid-friendly for your little helpers. Cut off the end of a broom and mop stick so it's just the right height for your preschooler, then fill a small bucket with water and floor cleaner for them to mop the floors. Old socks work well as little dust mitts for kids to wear while dusting too.

Tip - A child-sized apron will make your toddler, or preschooler, feel like they're dressed for duty and will help keep their clothes clean too.

4) Motivation tips

Teach your kids that housework is everyone's responsibility and not something to do just because they get something in return, like pocket money. That said, an occasional reward such as an hour later weekend bedtime for school kids, more TV time, or a treat for finishing chores, are great motivators.

Kids love charts! Make a chart of different chores and have your kids put a sticker under their name whenever they do some housework as a motivator. After so many stickers, give them a prize to say thanks.

Teenagers are old enough to be solely responsible for cleaning their bedrooms, but they're also often the worst offenders of messy rooms! Just like reward charts for little kids, teenagers also need motivators - consider granting a later weekend curfew, or limiting computer time until their rooms are spic and span.

Tip - don't forget your thank-yous, hugs and praises. Kids of all ages thrive on being praised and are more inclined to help when their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated!

5) Everything has its place

Have designated storage places for your kids' belongings - hooks for their school bags, racks for their shoes, a bookshelf for their text books etc, so they know where their belongings 'live' when not in use.

Likewise, have specific boxes for Lego, soft toys, books etc so toy tidy ups are easy. Having a giant toy box is like a bottomless pit where things are bound to get lost.

6) Start early

Give your kids domestic responsibilities early in life. Children as young as two can help with dusting, watering the plants and filling up the dog's drink bowl. Start instilling house pride and the value of being tidy too. Even a toddler can pick up some items and put them in a box.

School kids love sorting and grouping objects, so encourage them to sort their own washing into whites and darks and help to stack and empty the dishwasher.

Get your kids cooking as well as helping out with household cleaning. Parenting guru, Steve Biddulph says that by the age of nine, kids are able to safely use a knife and boil water without accidents and suggests they cook a meal for the family once a week. The experience not only lets them develope an essential life skill, it also instils confidence and pride in their abilities.

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