One of the most common questions I receive is how to get kids to do more around the house and to do more for themselves.
The reality is that most kids will need to be reminded to do tasks around the house and they will let you keep doing plenty of things for them even if they are capable of doing them themselves. As a parent, we need to determine what we think they are capable of doing and what we need them to be doing. If we wait for the kids to just start doing more around the house, it will be us who end ups doing all the work around the house.
Having kids help around the house does help decrease our workload, but it really does benefit the kids too. When the kids help around the house, they learn essential life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and budgeting – yes they can help with the shopping! These are skills that will help them become independent and self-sufficient adults. Additionally, helping around the house instills a sense of responsibility in kids and teaches them the importance of pitching in and working as a team.
Getting kids to do more around the house
There are some things we do to make it more likely that the kids will do their tasks around the house:
- Clearly define what each child is expected to do and when – One of the most important things you can do is to be clear with your kids about what tasks they are responsible for and when they need to do them. Write it down or make a chart so they know exactly what is expected of them.
- Start when they are young – It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about responsibility. Even little ones can help with simple tasks like putting their toys away or setting the table.
- Add more tasks and more complex tasks as they get older – As your kids grow, they can take on more responsibility. Add new tasks to their list as they are ready for them and have them do tasks that they are capable of.
- Allow them input into the household tasks they have to do – If you involve your kids in choosing the tasks they will do, they are more likely to be invested in doing them. Ask them what they would like to help with and let them have a say in the tasks they have to do around the house.
- Make it easy for them to do the tasks – If you want your kids to do their tasks with as few complaints as possible, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. For example, put things within their reach, have defined places for cleaning tools and products, and make it simple to understand what needs to be done – create checklists with pictures if needed.
- Add the task to an existing routine – If you want your kids to do something without having to nag them to do it, try adding it to an existing routine. For example, if you want them to feed the dog each night, then make it the first thing they do once they finish eating their own dinner and before they head to the shower. That way it can become part of the flow of nighttime activities.
Getting the kids to look after their belongings
I would love to say that my kids never leave their stuff lying around the house and once they use something they put it straight back where it belongs but that would be a complete lie! There are some things that we do though to make it more likely that they will look after their belongings:
- Have designated places for key items (eg school bags, shoes, homework etc) – One way to keep things organised is to have specific places for things. Make sure each child has a place to put their school bag, shoes, and homework. This will help them know where everything is and keep it from getting lost.
- Call them back to collect their items – If you see your child leaving something behind, call them back to get it. This will help them remember to take their things with them and keep track of their belongings.
- Have a lost item box – A lost item box is a great way to keep track of lost items. Put all of the lost items in the box and have your child check it when they are looking for something.
- Warn them in advance if they have to pay for lost or broken items – Make sure they know that they will be responsible for paying for any items that they lose or break while they are in your care. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or frustration later on.
- Keep the house decluttered so it is easy to find what is needed – Regularly go through and get rid of anything that is no longer needed or used. This can be done by having regular garage sales, donating items to op shops, or simply throwing things away.
If you are looking for help getting the kids to do more around the house then join us for this round of Planned + Present. Planned + Present a 7 week online course designed for mums to help them streamline the known repetitive tasks of family life, leaving them more time for the family and the things they love. But this course doesn’t just focus on getting mum to do all the work! Throughout the seven weeks, we take a deep dive into:
- Creating a simple system to allocate household tasks for the kids
- Processes and plans for managing homework & tech with the kids
- Setting up evening routines for the kids
- Setting up morning routines for the kids