Creative ways to make children do their chores with a smile

Creative ways to make children do their chores with a smile

Getting kids to do certain chores around the house can be a challenging task in and of itself. However, experts agree that some patience, creativity and early training can make a busy little helper out of almost every child.


Pat Saperstein, a Los Angeles-based journalist and mother of two young helpers, tells us that the earlier you start training the kids, the better results you’ll get in the long run.

Early Training
“Back when my kids were in preschool, they were taught this song called ‘Clean Up Time,’ and it sort of engrained the idea in their minds that cleaning up was a fun thing to do—even when they were only two or three years old,” recalls Saperstein. She points out that kids need to know that simple tasks like putting dishes away or cleaning their room are part of normal life, and not something out of the ordinary.

Creativity Is Key
It’s a good idea to take advantage of the fact that younger kids love to be considered helpful. According to Saperstein, “It’s best to encourage them to try their hand at different tasks each day. You don’t want them to get bored with the same routine.” On Saturdays, for example, they can play a game that involves folding all the clean socks when they come out of the dryer. While on Sundays, they can help dust the tables with a duster that’s shaped like a favorite animal. Spice things up by introducing a variety of helpful activities.

Reward Good Behavior
“Chore charts and gold stars are always helpful,” says Saperstein, “But both parents have to be fully on board with the plan. It’s worth trying but you have to be consistent.” She adds that children embrace structure and actually enjoy helping out around the house. “Look at the way kids automatically put on their seatbelts when they get in the car these days. They get used to the idea, so they don’t even question it.”

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Pick Your Battles
Of course, once kids get older, it’s harder to convince them that daily chores are a fun activity. That’s when you have to be firm. Saperstein says it’s best not to dole out privileges until the chores are done. “You have to go back to the idea of what’s a normal expectation in your household,” she says. “There are certain things that are non-negotiable. You never leave your towel on the floor. You always put your books away, etc. It’s up to you to decide which ones are simply not open to discussion.”

Be Realistic
Parents may also have to adjust their expectations once kids get older. Saperstein emphasizes that as parents, you don’t want arguments about chores to dominate your dialog. “Stop and think about your interactions with your kids,” she says. “As they get ready to graduate from high school, you don’t want to look back and realize that you spent too much time arguing about their chores when they lived at home.”

Saperstein emphasizes that to win the chore game, you need to be consistent, manage your expectations and bring a sense of fun to mundane household tasks. Fingers crossed, your kids will be ready for college life knowing how to fluff and fold their laundry, clean their rooms and cook a healthy meal.

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Wonderful and useful post.

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