Chores and fun in the same sentence? Is this even possible? Well, guess what, it’s possible! Here are a few ideas for getting kids to beat you at the cleaning game!
Chores are often viewed as that “have-to” before actually getting to do something FUN like playing outside or video games. It’s time to flip that switch.
According to recent studies, chores are good for children. Research has found that giving children daily responsibilities enables them to be more successful in life.
“Using data collected over 25 years, Marty Rossman from the University of Mississippi found that children who had done chores since the age of three or four were more likely to be well-adjusted, have better relationships with friends and family, and be more successful in their careers.” Chores for the win!
When you think of the word “chores” what comes to mind? Well, maybe that is the issue. Maybe we need to start by changing up the word and ousting that stigma behind the word “chores.” Think of these tasks as opportunities or special jobs around the house.
Kids love to feel as if they have an important role or a special job responsibility. It also creates a sense of ownership around that task. If “Camille” is consistently responsible for taking care of the dishwasher she knows each day to check for dirty and clean dishes. It becomes routine rather than a “have-to.”
This works especially well if you have more than one child and they are competitive. Challenge your kiddos to a game of “basket” ball - Put the laundry basket in the middle of the room. Challenge your kids to see who can fill up the laundry basket the quickest with dirty clothes (throwing them up basketball style). Show off your skills... go behind the back, through the legs and was that a spin move to the basket! It’s fun to watch kids mimic this and start to genuinely enjoy it themselves. Another trick is to hang a hoop in their room above their laundry basket to keep that pile from growing on the floor!
Set a timer and have a list of how to clean your room.
“Hey let’s set a stopwatch and see how fast you can clean up your toys.” Do this together. Let them pick up a certain item and then you choose to pick up a certain item to help. Another quick trick would be to set your timer to see how much they can get done in a certain amount of time. Challenge them to get an entire basket of toys put away in three minutes or all their laundry in their dressers in five.
Give them an incentive to do chores. The power of the almighty dollar! If they want a new Xbox game or bike, give them the chance to earn it. Create an opportunity jar and assign each chore with a dollar amount. The money they earn through chores will go toward the item they want. This will give them a goal to work towards and teach your children the value of hard work and that money doesn’t necessarily grow on trees. Once they’ve earned enough for that must-have video game, chances are they’ll be looking for more opportunities to get the next game in the series or whatever it is they just “have to have.”
Play music, clean as fast as you can, stop the music and everyone freezes, then play the music again and so on…
Turn on some get-your-feet-moving, feel-good music and crank it up. Dance around. Use the broom or mop as a microphone. Invite the kids to sing backup or tell them you’ll back them up. Vacuum with style to the music and let them take a turn.
Place sticky notes around the house with special instructions. For example… clean the bathroom, then place another sticky note on the toilet bowl with a clue of where they should head next. At the end offer a fun prize, maybe a movie day or a picnic in the park -you both win- your house is clean, they had fun and you all get to enjoy a family fun day afterward.
Your children look to you as to how to react. If you grumble around the house while picking up laundry or are complaining about putting dishes in the dishwasher, they will too. Take the time to show them how to make doing chores not such a burden. Play music, dance around, show them how to be.
We’ve all been there, we’ve tried lists, games and even bribes, but sometimes it all seems hopeless especially in the summer.
It’s time to get serious. No point system. No chore chart. No struggle. Can I get an amen?
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