Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Children and housework

I have a confession to make. I am a mean "mean mother", and I make my children help with the housework. 

It is my belief that, as a parent, it is my job to teach my children everything that they need to know to become fully functional members of society. One of these lessons is that, unfortunately, housework is not optional!

I should mention, my kids are not mopping floors, or scrubbing walls; although when Ruth was younger she wanted to play Cinderella, and asked to scrub the grout, I didn't say no... I choose jobs that my kids are capable of, and let them know that this is their responsibility.

I thought that today I would share some ideas about getting your children to help you out with the housework.

1. Your kids want to do what you are doing...
I was told when Ruth was very little, by my health nurse, that your kids just want to do what you are doing. So from a very young age, both of my children have helped with things like dishes, folding washing, cooking and dusting. 

2. Make cleaning fun...
My kids love helping me clean because I turn on music and I blast it through the house. If I send them off to their rooms to tidy up, music blaring is the most important part of it. If cleaning is fun it feels like less of a chore for everyone, including you!

3. Be realistic...
You need to be realistic about what you want your kids to do. I make my kids clean their own rooms, help stack the dishwasher, and put away their own washing. Ruth has recently started folding her own. They will also clean the bathroom with supervision, but I generally do most of it. Ruth often asks to do the vacuuming too.

4. Be patient...
Your kids are not going to be awesome, professional level cleaners. Oliver's idea of folding socks is shoving one inside the other and folding them in half (always funny when you pull them out of the drawer). You really need to pick your battles with kids and cleaning. Think about it, is it really SO important that the shirts get hung all the same way and in rainbow colour order?? The idea is that you get them started, that you get them motivated, and eventually they will need less supervision, and be able to do things on their own.

That's it!! There is the motivator of pocket money, if you are so inclined and we often will sweeten the deal for the kids cleaning up something in particular by paying them.

Do you make your kids help with you with the housework?
What kind of tips do you have for getting children motivated to help around the house?
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