It’s a topic that can cause much discussion – how to get your kids to help around the home? Sometimes it seems impossible to do without bribery or the threat of dire consequences (e.g. stopping pocket money) or just giving up and doing the whole lot yourself.
Unfortunately, as with any form of delegation, it’s all too easy to tell yourself nobody can do it like you. Especially if you are a perfectionist and like things done a certain way.
But it’s all too easy to let them play on their gadgets rather than risk adding yet more stress to your day by invoking another argument about whose turn it is to lay the table or take the rubbish out.
The problem is unless we train our children to help out – and to enjoy how good that can make you feel (not all the time but in general), we are making a rod for our own backs.
There are things that kids can do to lighten your load a little. It’s particularly important too, I think when they have brothers and sisters. Helping each other out may, just may damp down any ongoing sibling spats and foster a temporary truce in hormonal hostilities.
Here are some suggestions that kids can do to help. Little’uns can do some of these too and if your kids are tweenagers, like mine, they certainly should be doing their bit.
Household chores for kids
- When something runs out, add it to a shopping list for the next shopping trip
- Help find things in the supermarket and cross things off the grocery list as you shop
- Carry in groceries from the car and help to put them away.
With supervision and depending on their age, most kids can do these:-
- Help prep vegetables, wash, peel and chop
- Whisk eggs, sift flour, weigh ingredients
- Help ice cakes and buns
Serving & clearing
- Lay the table
- Polish glasses or tumblers
- Fill jugs with water or squash
- Take plates out and pop them in the sink or dishwasher
Around the house
- Tidy their bedrooms and make their beds
- Restock the loo with loo roll
- Empty bins
- Sort items for recycling
- Hang out washing on the line, radiator or airer
- Put laundry away
- Hang up their clothes
- Water plants
- Vacuum or sweep up
Helping siblings and others
- Offer to get a snack or drink for others when they get theirs
- Get something from another room when someone needs it
- Clean up spills no matter who caused them
- Feed a pet or refill their water bowl
- Read to a younger sibling
- Help younger siblings with their coats and shoes when going out
and at times like Christmas, birthdays or other celebrations, kids can help wrap others’ presents, write and deliver cards, decorate the tree and help make mince pies.
None of this is rocket science but my point is that we don’t always have to do it on our own when there are probably two or three other ‘helpers’.
Dealing with ‘the resistance’
But what do you do if you are met with no response or worse, hostility.
Sometimes a withdrawal of privileges is called for – no gadgets, no WiFi access, no favourite TV show.
No lifts back and forth to sports or clubs.
No lifts into town or to parties.
No renewal of mobile phone credit
Or, you may decide that an incentive may work better than a punishment.
What about a scheme where they earn gaming time or WiFi access? Give them a basic structure of chores that have to be completed each day. Bed made. Dirty washing in the washing basket. Homework done – that kind of thing.
As with lots of parenting, consistency is key and when you’re tired and stressed yourself and particularly if you are on your own, it can be a Herculean struggle.
Yes, you may dislike having to incentivise (bribe) them somehow but better that than work yourself into a complete state of festering resentment.
Household chores for kids are a great introduction to adult life.
You’ll be teaching them useful life skills that they can take with them when they leave home – although Caitlin and Ieuan say they have no intention of going anywhere until they are at least 30.
By that time I’ll have trained them to polish my zimmer frame, pimp my wheelchair and recharge my mobility scooter as well as cook a four-course meal.
Do you get your kids to help around the house?