By Courtney Ingalls
How to Start Your Kids on Chores
Incorporating chores into your kids routines is important but can sometimes be hard to do. You might not know when is the right time to have them start or how to figure out a solid schedule for them to follow. Chores are not only great for showing kids how to do tasks they will need to know once they grow up, but it also teaches them responsibility.
Many times parents have to go through the process of trial and error (A LOT of errors) to figure out their families flow. Not sure how to get started? Here are some tips that will lead you on the right path to having a cleaner house!
Begin at A Early Age
Kids are the most eager to help their parents or any adult with a task when they are in their toddler to preschool years. There is no better time than this age to start introducing the idea of chores to them. Start off by having your little ones “clean” with you. If you are wiping down the windows, give them their own cloth, let them hold the vacuum with you as you clean the living room carpet.
If you really want to go the extra mile, there are also cleaning toys, such as Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! Play Set, that you can buy your kids so they can get extra excited about helping out!
Make Cleaning a Family Affair
Another reason that kids should have chores is because it connects them more with their family. Once you decide your kids are ready for chores, the best first step is to have a family meeting to discuss why you all will be doing chores and to delegate which family members do what. It is important for kids to see that chores are just as important for adults as it is for them.
If you’re not sure if your kids will be able to complete daily tasks, it is a good idea to designate a day throughout the week where the whole family will clean together. Being able to do chores alongside adults will give kids the confidence that they can complete tasks and will teach them how to complete these chores when it comes time to do it themselves.
Find Age Appropriate Chores
Now that your kids are starting to see why chores are important, it’s now time to give them ones that they will be able to do at their age. For ages 2 and 3, kids can start learning how to do basic chores with the help of their parents such as picking up their toys, dusting and helping their parents pick up spills.
Once they hit the ages of 4-7, most parents feel they can give their kids more responsibilities. These include setting and clearing the table, keeping their own rooms clean, and learning how to fold laundry. When your kids hit the ages of 8 or 9, that’s when many parents believe they are ready for tasks many adults do during their regular day such as learning how to work a washer and dryer, taking out the trash and washing the dishes.
Parents know only too well that every kid is different and every household has unique chores they believe are the most important for their kids to learn, so keep in mind to give out chores that fit your family.
Give Kids Visual Aids
Having visual aids will help your kids stay on a set chore schedule and will help them build a routine. It can be hard for kids (and parents) to remember what their tasks are every week, so keeping these visual aids in places where they will see it often is a perfect way to remind them.
If you have a little one who hasn’t mastered reading yet, then chore cards are great visual aids to get! These cards have illustrations of different chores on them so even though your kids can’t read, they will understand what they need to do from the pictures. For older kids, a chore chart is great to keep them organized. You can either buy a magnetic chart or simply print ones offline that they can check off as they go. Being able to cross chores off on a chart will give your kids a sense of accomplishment and will help your kids stick with it each week!
Praise for Completing (or Trying to Complete) a Task
Everyone loves to hear that they have done a good job on a task and kids are no different when it comes to their chores! Kids will be more willing to continue with their chores if you praise them for the good work that they have done and some kids might feel confident enough to take on other tasks around the house. Adults also have to remember that kids are not going to clean the way we do, so try not to focus on each chore being done perfectly. Instead, make sure to let them know they did a good job and then give them a tip on how they could do it better next time.
This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.