Getting your kids to help out around the house doesn't have to be a drag or a reason to nag! Here are smart parenting tips that prevent household tasks from being a chore.
Simple jobs like helping to set the table or putting clothes away are teachable moments, not just about the task. Chores provide children with valuable lessons in responsibility, pitching in, and being part of a team. "There is a sense of accomplishment that kids gain, knowing that they can successfully do things on their own," says on-air parenting and lifestyle expert and host of The Breakdown with Bethany on MomCaveTV.com, Bethany Braun-Silva, mom of a ten and 7-year-old. "Once kids learn new things, they want to do them, whether zipping up their jackets or tying their shoes. Children also thrive on routine and a sense of order in things. When my boys wake up in the morning, they know they have to make their beds, brush their teeth, and get dressed before breakfast. If kids know what's expected of them, and you give them the simple how-to steps, it becomes something they do without thinking about it."
When should you introduce chores to your kids?
Once a child hits toddler age (2 to 3 years old), you can show them how to do age-appropriate chores. "I think kids as young as 2 understand and want to help out and have some autonomy over their space and their things," says Braun-Silva. "When my son was in Pre-K, his teacher taught the students to put their things away in a cubby and help out with jobs like handing out snacks. Sometimes we think our kids aren't ready for some responsibility when they actually are, and they take pride in doing those jobs well." Braun-Silva suggests starting by showing younger children (ages 2 to 6) how to put their toys away and get themselves dressed if you lay their clothes out for them.
Five ways to make chores fun
"Putting on an upbeat song helps us all get going. My kids love to clean up if we make a game out of it and dance around. Right now, they are really into Barry Manilow's classic Copacabana. It's old school, but they love it! Plus, the song has such a fun beat and is long enough to get a room swept up," says Braun-Silva.
Make it a race
"My kids are really incentivized by time," says Braun-Silva. "So I'll say, 'Who can pick up all their clothes and toys in less than 2 minutes? I'm setting a timer now...and, go!'"
Create laundry games
"Each of my boys has their own hamper for dirty laundry, and we make a basketball game of tossing dirty clothes into it. This dunking contest can continue when you load the washing machine, too," says Braun-Silva. You can also make up a color-sorting contest or an I spy game like: Who can find three white and two colorful laundry items and put them in separate piles?
"When all the clean laundry is piled up on the bed and ready to be folded, I challenge my kids to find their individual items and put them in their own stack. I let my boys put their clothes away in the drawer or closet they choose. This gives them a sense of autonomy, plus they'll know where to grab things in the morning when they get dressed," says Braun-Silva.
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Don't forget the how-tos and high fives!
Break down each chore into clear, simple, specific steps. For example, instead of saying, "Please clean your room," say, "Please put the stuffed animals in the toy bin and the markers in the drawer." "Like grownups, kids can get overwhelmed if a task is not clearly explained. Instead, shower children with encouragement and praise for a job well done, and don't get caught up in everything looking perfect," Braun-Silva says. "If your kids are folding their clothes, it doesn't need to be super crisp and neat, just as long as they're doing it themselves."
Lead by example
If your kids see you doing something fun, they'll want to get involved. "They will model your behavior," says Braun-Silva. They'll also ask a lot of questions, so be sure to explain why you're asking them to help. You can frame it as: "We're taking care of our home so that we can be happy here," and "When your things are put away properly, you'll know exactly where to find them." After all, a cluttered, messy room brings stress and a feeling of chaos into a child's day, which is true of grownups as well, Braun-Silva says.
A sense of accomplishment, purpose, and pride comes with the simple act of cleaning up -- for kids and adults alike. This is what Kirei is all about -- living a beautiful life of balance, cleanliness, order, and simplicity. And don't forget to make it fun!
*Comparison of packages greater than or equal to 50 mL