Children and housework don’t always go together because they aren’t always naturally particularly enthusiastic about helping out with chores. I have two sons and both have their own chores to do and extra tasks to help out. They’ve done this from pretty early on and now that they’re a little older (currently seven and twelve) they do their chores mostly without thinking.
Here a few things to consider when it comes to children and housework, namely teaching them and encouraging them to do tasks that have been set, and do them well.
Do Things Together
While the children are still happy to be with you all the time, use this as perfect time to get them to join in with housework. Doing some things together can make it more fun for both of you. Your children might not provide any actual help, but it can teach them new things and get them into good habits. You can do anything together, from dusting to cooking. There’s almost always something that you can give them to do, or something they can pretend to do so they think they’re helping.
Children and Housework at Playtime
Playing at housework can be a good way to get the kids to do it in real life too, and playing house isn’t just for girls (my two loved playing house, tea parties and had housework-related toys; why they are mostly just marketed at boys I’ll never know). A play area that include some home accessories, like a wooden toy kitchen or a pretend vacuum cleaner, gives your children the opportunity to play pretend and possibly pick up some important skills. It’s also fantastic for their imagination, and it can be a good way to improve their social and sharing skills. You can also turn proper chores into a game.
Teach Age-Appropriate Skills
The earlier you can get your children involved in housework, the better. As soon as they can walk, they can at least pretend to help. There are plenty of age-appropriate tasks for all ages, and you can easily find suggestions and charts with ideas. It’s up to you to decide what your children can handle, but they could be capable of more than you imagine. As long as you’re supervising, they could even do things like helping to cut up ingredients for cooking. As they get older, you can teach them more so that they can help out in different ways and become more self-sufficient.
Give Them Responsibilities
A lot of children love being trusted with different responsibilities. They enjoy being seen as grown-up enough to handle having their own chores. Of course, this doesn’t work with everyone, but it’s worth a try! Creating a chore chart helps to keep everyone organised and allows them to check off the things they’ve done for a sense of accomplishment. If you have movable chores or names, you can keep things a bit mixed up so that no one gets bored with the same tasks. My two have a pin board they check when they come in from school with their tasks, from homework and reading to emptying the dishwasher, pairing socks, putting the recycling out and more.
Get your children involved in housework as soon as possible, and you can give them skills for life.