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How to encourage your children to help with household chores

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JuggleMum Featured Post ImageHow to encourage your children to help with household chores.

You probably experienced it as a child, the daily battle with your parents to do your chores and the inevitable war zone that broke out when dishes weren’t dried or bedrooms dusted. Chores are boring, even for adults, but if we all want to live in a clean and well ordered home, they are unfortunately, necessary.

To create an environment at home where your children help out without the battles, start when they are young if you can. Put a duster in the hand of a one-year-old and show them how to use it and they’ll happily clean with mummy whilst you are also maintaining the home. If your child can associate cleaning with positivity, then this should carry on as they’re older. Even if you have a weekly cleaner or hire Molly Maid spring cleaning once a year to get on top of it all, it’s important that the children learn to help out in their own way, with age appropriate tasks.

Don’t enforce cleaning as a chore, instead make it a simple part of their everyday routine so they don’t think of it as anything unusual – i.e. you always dry the dishes together after washing up or the bins are always taken out on a Tuesday evening before collection day. Having chores as a basic element in their everyday lives from a young age could help prevent any resistance when they’re older. Since the age of around 6, I have encouraged my children to have a ‘job’ of their own. My daughter (now 13) started feeding the cats each morning, and now she is older her brother does that job and she helps to prepare the evening meal. I was always keen that my children learn to cook, as this wasn’t something I was taught at home and meant that I made unhealthy choices and got into bad habits with food when I was older.

Don’t let one parent do all the work. You might have grown up in a very clear gender-divisive environment but try to eliminate this when you have children. Ensure both you and your partner are seen regularly doing chores, so your children understand that everyone needs to play a part when it comes to cleaning the home.

Try and do your own chores at the same time as your kids; if the whole family is giving up their time to get things done they might accept the task at hand more easily. We also link chores to pocket money so if the children want to earn some more money for a special event they can do a job to help out the house. I find that this instills the belief that money has to be earned and doesn’t just get handed out. There’s nothing more unattractive than an entitled attitude and an inability to show gratitude.

If your kids are a little older and you’re just starting to introduce the concept of chores, then why not make it a game? Time how long it takes them to complete a task and if they beat their time (and the job is still done properly) then they can have some sort of reward – perhaps something like a slightly later bed time. You could also assign a time to the task you want them to do. Tell them that drying the dishes should only take 20 minutes and they’ll try to get them done even quicker.

Don’t ever let them off the hook with chores as a reward for good behaviour though and don’t use chores as a punishment. While you might consider chores a threat you can use to get kids to behave, it will just reinforce the negative associations they might already have. You should also try to avoid overloading them. I find that being realistic with your expectations for their age is a more productive way to treat chores. Plus if you need to deliver punishment you could always threaten to take away the Wi-Fi!

Disclosure: This post was brought to you in collaboration with Molly Maid. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make JuggleMum possible.​

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Comments to How to encourage your children to help with household chores

  • Some great tips there. It really is a good idea to teach children to do chores. I did a lot when I was younger, it was just expected of my and I did it. But when I had my own children I swore I’d never let them work in the home I like used to do. I think maybe my mum had made me too much. However, they grew up to be right lazy around the house and learnt nothing so that was a big mistake on my behalf. I now have three young children and they love to help around the house, but I only let them do it if they want lesson was learnt anyway.

    Anne 1st March 2016 12:20 pm Reply
    • A friend of mind feels the way you do – her parents made her do chores and she swore she’d never with her child, but in my case, I didn’t feel equipped to run a home when I was on my own as I knew nothing! This is why I’m determined that my children will be capable of looking after themselves when they leave home.

      Nadine Hill 1st March 2016 5:02 pm Reply
  • Some brilliant tips here! My son is only three but he does help out with the chores already. He tidies up after himself (we have to remind him to do it frequently) but he helps with the washing, drying and unloading the dishwasher. I’m determined to give him a good grounding of looking after himself and the home. My hubby was useless when I met him, his Mum did everything and I really don’t want to do that for Olly.

    Emma Shilton 1st March 2016 8:30 pm Reply
    • Good for you! I feel that way too!

      Nadine Hill 2nd March 2016 11:02 am Reply
  • Useful tips – my older two children complete chores around the home which have to be completed before they can do the things that they want to do. It is not linked to pocket money as we feel they should help out as they are part of the family

    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too 2nd March 2016 10:47 am Reply
    • It’s good to get everyone involved so they know that we all have to do our bit.

      Nadine Hill 2nd March 2016 11:03 am Reply
  • I think my dislike of housework has rubbed off on my kids, I can hardly expect them to enjoy it when I grumble about it so much! I find bribery works best in my house – chores in exchange for pocket money – tho the 4 year old seems to do it for fun still – he loves a bit of dusting!

    Sonya Cisco 2nd March 2016 10:49 am Reply
    • Bless him – and long may that continue!!

      Nadine Hill 2nd March 2016 11:03 am Reply
  • Both my boys have a list of things that they are expected to do for the good of the family. When they were younger they loved helping, now not so much!

    Jen Walshaw (@Mum_TheMadHouse) 2nd March 2016 1:44 pm Reply
    • Yeah, they soon grow out of it!!

      Nadine Hill 4th March 2016 3:22 pm Reply
  • I need to implement some of these tips with Emma before she grows disinterested with the whole idea of helping around the house. I think pocket money would be a great incentive with her.xx

    oana79 2nd March 2016 9:36 pm Reply
    • Get her hooked while you can!! lol x

      Nadine Hill 4th March 2016 3:23 pm Reply
  • I didn’t enforce chores with Teen when he was younger and I think that was a mistake. He’s very lazy now when it comes to helping, although he will if I ask. But I wish I’d made him earn his pocket money so to speak. I do make the younger three ‘help’ quite often but they should be doing more! x

    Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours 3rd March 2016 10:05 am Reply
    • I find that with my kids it’s just a part of their routine now – they don’t tend to question it or argue, although I do have to remind them! x

      Nadine Hill 4th March 2016 3:23 pm Reply
  • I would love to have a cleaner but I think I would probably clean before she got here! The teens do help and Sebby loves to put things away, I struggle with eliza though, she is easily distracted lol

    Kara 5th March 2016 4:43 pm Reply
    • haha at least you try!

      Nadine Hill 7th March 2016 1:50 pm Reply
  • I love this. My three-year-old used to get really upset if I didn’t let him do some hoovering, but I got a bit lazy and just tried to get things done while he was napping or watching TV. Making a rod for my own back, etc.

    Momma Jones 13th May 2016 11:53 pm Reply
    • I’m glad the post helped!

      Nadine Hill 15th May 2016 7:59 am Reply

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