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Following a busy week of work or school, housework often falls by the wayside. After all, who has enough time in the day for all that needs to be done to keep a house in tip-top shape? That's where Saturday morning chores come in. But did you know you don't have to be the only one doing the cleaning? Your kids can help, too.
Kids learn valuable lessons from doing chores. However, most children would rather play outside or watch cartoons than do their share of chores. While it can be like pulling teeth to get you child to clean their room, there are ways to motivate your kids to do those dreaded chores.
Doing chores help children feel needed. If your son is responsible for setting the table, he knows that if he doesn't do his job, he will be missed. When a child is taught to do a job and to do it well, he will not only learn a new skill, but will feel good about himself for his accomplishment. Chores teach children responsibility and the value of hard work. When your kids learn how to wash the dishes or do the laundry, they are learning how to take care of a home. Chores, in a true sense, help prepare kids to be responsible adults.
Many parents make mistakes when it comes to chores. If you are a perfectionist when it comes to housework, you may not want your kids to lend a helping hand. Or you may criticize your child's efforts or redo what he or she has already done. Though this may seem minor to you, redoing chores your kids already completed makes your little helpers feel inadequate and want to quit.
Parents often underestimate their child's abilities. If your child can play a video game, she can learn to operate a dishwasher. Kids learn by doing and by example. Make sure you assign age-appropriate chores to your children. Preschoolers can't mop the floor and a 7-year-old probably shouldn't do the ironing. But give kids some time and they will become pros at sorting the laundry.
Don't wait until the chore is done before praising your child's efforts. Keep encouraging him along the way. And be consistent with your expectations. Make chores a habit. If one Saturday you let kids play all day and then the next expect them to finish a long list of chores before playing, expect rebellion.
Here's some helpful advice when it comes to motivating your kids to do their part: Make a list of each child's chores and leave a space for a check mark or a sticker. That way, kids can see clearly what is expected of them each day and can be instantly rewarded by checking things off the list.
Give kids time to get their lists done, but give them a deadline. Be clear about your expectations. Telling your child to clean his or her room can be overwhelming and vague. But saying, "Put your clothes in your drawer, make your bed, and put the LEGOs in their box” is more understandable and doable in your child's mind.
You should also make chores fun. Pretend you're all maids in a castle and make it a competition to see who can finish the fastest. Or turn on dance music to get everybody moving.
Rewards or allowance generally aren't a fitting reward when it comes to chores for young children. The intrinsic value of a job well done should be reward enough. Besides, many young children aren't motivated by money anyway. Money for older children, on the other hand, is often a great incentive. On top of encouraging kids to get to work, allowance gives parents an opportunity to teach lessons about handling money.
Despite what you might think, moms and dads can't do it all. It takes the whole family to keep a home in order. If each member takes responsibility for a few chores, life will be less messy for everyone.