I know, it can be a pain keeping kids on-task and a lot of patience. But, whether it’s taking on daily tasks or helping with chores to prepare for spring cleaning, big celebration or holidays, kids learn vital skills, gain self-confidence and independence.
I thought I’d be all over getting them to help out at an early age. Pick up all the blue toys! Yay! Pick up all stuffed animals! Yay! No. Hard no. It was just easier to do it myself. However, I realized when they did it themselves, and sometimes it took forever, they had a sense of accomplishment and were more willing to move on to another room and help me there, too. Added bonus as they got older? They started picking up randomly so they wouldn’t have to do it at the end of the day. Yay!
What they Learn When Helping with Chores
Aside from honing a strong work ethic and keeping mom’s wrath at bay, chores teach kids quite a lot.
- Kids learn lifeskills, such as meal planning and budgeting as well as laundry and keeping a clean bathroom (future roommates will thank you!).
- Having a regular chore schedule or chart to keep them accountable teaches kids responsibility. When they know to clean their own room before screen time and do that without asking (ok, maybe be the 10th time…or 10th week), they learn self-reliance. I comment on how mature they are getting, which works better than dollars for my newly minted tweens.
- When you work together as a team, they are sharpening those collaboration skills. They develop strong teamwork skills at home with your patient guidance and understanding…until they roll their eyes, am I right?!
- Aside from the respect they are showing you, the family and the home, they are also learning self-respect. When my son picked up his clothes and put them in the hamper without walking over them I about lost my mind. He heard my gasp and said he knew it would make me mad to step over his dirty clothes, so, ya know, let’s avoid that! But he felt proud of himself. Even said, “It wasn’t that hard.” Yes, yes, I know that! Now go pick up your pants draped on the staircase.
Tips to Get Tasks Done
A list of chores can help them to stay on top of keeping their room tidy and jumping in to help keep the house in order.
Tasks often get relegated to the adults, but taking time (and it takes time and patience when you are busy!), to let kids help can be a big opportunity. Guide them through the process of gathering cleaning supplies and cleaning the room.
Realize that this is going to take some time and the child is going to spill, overspray, use too much of everything and generally approach tasks with some sense of fun. It’s okay. Perfection isn’t the goal. You have fun, too. This is about confidence and skill-building.
Make a Cleaning Plan
Have everything ready and plenty of space to finish the job. Take your time. You’ve been doing this longer. And you have had your frustrating moments as well. Make it a fun time. Put on some music and go ahead and get your cleaning jam on!
Print out all that needs to be done in each room. A keep a list in my planner for myself to remember what needs to get done.
I’ve made cleaning a mad dash to just get it done. If it takes you 30 minutes to clean the bathroom, give yourself an hour to show your kids how it’s done and have them help.
My son is easily distracted. When I was asking the twins to pick up, his sister would make a game of the task and get it done, his part as well. I learned to take each kiddo, alone, and have all the supplies to clean up. It’s nice to have some calm time together, not shushing one while explaining how to swish the brush around the toilet bowl while the other has absconded to the TV. We focus better when it’s one-on-one.