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Monday, April 30, 2012

How to make chores fun for kids, productive for you

There have been many-an article written about children and chores. There are all sorts of suggestions and ideas… as you read this post, keep in mind that the best ideas come with your twist put into it.

Over the weekend I decided my children were going to help me clean up each room… right after I vegged on the couch and watched television. I didn’t announce it or prepare them, I just stood up and said, ‘Okay, guys, let’s get cleaned up. You guys are going to help me go room to room.’ Now when I said “help me,” I really meant I’m going to direct you and you’re going to do it. We started in the girls’ room then their brother’s room and their bathroom. Then we moved into the kitchen where they emptied the dishwasher and put the dishes away as well as loaded the dishwasher. I had planned on having them help me with my room, but we ran out of time before we were expecting guests.

Playing taskmaster while they clean and straighten isn’t always ideal, but it does get everything accomplished fairly quickly and correctly. Funny thing is these same chores that I shadowed them on are posted on our family chore chart. The same chart they’re supposed to follow each week without prompting and just get done.

Surprise of all surprises: That doesn’t work.

The same happened with the chart that my BFF bought for my son a few years ago. He seldom – although more often – did it without prompting.

I’m of the parenting school where I tell you once or twice and you get it done. Of course the last time that worked for me was about 15 years ago when my almost 21-year-old daughter was young. Of course I only had one children then and that was a whole different generation.

So, how do you get your kids to enjoy chores? The tried and true method is to do it with them because they enjoy spending time with you. How is that productive for you? Well, you’re the taskmaster and you’ll get them to do it like you want it done.

Now before you do this shadow method you want to have already taught them how to do the chores and where to find everything. For instance, when I tell my children to take up the trash I expect them to grab the liner out of the trashcans and replace each can with another liner. If they need to sweep they know where the hand dustpan and broom is as well as the full-sized broom. They also know where dirty clothes go, empty hangers, etc.

Let’s review…

For independent workers:

  1. Teach chore
  2. Demonstrate chore
  3. Delegate chore

For shadowing:

  1. Teach chore
  2. Demonstrate chore
  3. Direct through chore

If you’re a parent who likes to assign rewards to chores then this is the perfect chance to allow some video game time or another activity your child loves. I, for the most,, just allow them to do something they want to do.

And in my infinite parenting wisdom, I prop up my feet and enjoy some reading, channel surfing or more Internet time. Either way, everyone gets something. On the chance that they’ve bribed asked me to play a game then we have some fun family time.

Now how do you delegate your household chores or get your kids to work together? Leave a comment with your tips ‘cause we can all learn from each other.

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