Getting your kids to participate in chores isn't just about making your life as a single parent a little easier. It's about teaching responsibility and creating a stable home environment where your kids know what is expected of them and where they can truly thrive.
How do you get your kids to do their part, though, without putting up a fight? Here are five tips for getting your kids involved:
1. Start EarlyThe easiest way to teach your kids to share the responsibility for regular chores around the house is to encourage their participation early. Basically, as soon as they're able to walk, they can begin to help you with small chores, like putting their toys away or tossing laundry into a basket. If you have older children, though, don't lose hope. It's never too late to begin making positive changes and teaching your kids responsibility.
2. Offer Choices Allow your kids to have a say in the tasks they'll be responsible for. One way to do this is to make a list all of the jobs that need to be completed, and allow each child to choose two or three age-appropriate tasks. Another idea is to make a game out of completing chores. For example, with young children, you can create chores cards, such as "dust," "vacuum," "bathroom sink," "empty the garbage cans," and "take out the recycling." Then, on "chore day," you can each pick one or two cards and complete those jobs. Working together, you'll have these tasks done in no time!
3. DemonstrateOne mistake that's easy to make is expecting our kids to do chores we've never really shown them how to do. The result is frustration for everyone! So whenever you're introducing a new task, make sure you teach your kids how to do it. From making their own beds to starting the dishwasher, make sure you demonstrate the skills you want your children to learn.
4. Set Reasonable ExpectationsThe most important thing about teaching your children to be responsible for chores around the house is that you're learning to work together as a family. At the same time, you're also exposing them to skills they'll need as adults. It doesn't matter if the results are not perfect. In fact, they're not going to be; so you can just dismiss that idea right now. Over time, though, you'll begin to see that your kids are getting better and better at the skills you're teaching them.
5. Gradually Increase Your Kids' ResponsibilitiesAs your children become more skilled in completing chores around the house, mix it up by introducing new tasks. For example, once your preteen has mastered the task of sorting laundry, consider whether he or she is ready to begin doing laundry! Even if you just started out with sheets and towels, it would be a huge load off your shoulders. It would also prepare for kids for doing their own laundry in their teen years, which is a great way to teach kids to take better care of their own clothes (and even motivate them to actually re-wear a not-so-dirty pair of jeans once in a while).