Whatever you decide to give your children as their first chore around the house, there are some common things you should keep in mind. This is still very new to them, after all, and as such you need to keep things in perspective with both assigning the tasks and overseeing the results. In other words: walk your children through their chores, for the first few weeks. Help them, don’t just say “Go clean the steps”. Take them to the steps and show them. Then supervise them. Then show them that you have enough trust to allow them now take over that task on their own.
First off, decide what you want to give them. I love this chore list from Merry Maids with the #MMKidsAmbassador program. I am partnering with them today to share some tips & give away some great things!
During the summer, parents can struggle to find a steady routine to fill their kids’ day with fun activities, while also keeping a clean household,” says Debra Johnson, a Merry Maids home cleaning expert. “By simply combining the two, turning chores into games and offering small rewards, parents can get kids excited about cleaning and, at the same time, help them learn how to take on more responsibilities.”
The “Merry Maids Kid Ambassador” tips provide fun ideas for getting kids involved and excited about cleaning up the most common kid-made summer messes.
Other Things to Remember When Assigning Chores
- Do not expect perfection. They are kids. This means they are learning and often make mistakes. As such never expect your children to do tasks flawlessly, especially the first few times. If you notice that certain surfaces have not been dusted, or there’s still a toy hidden in the corner, just clean it up yourself and say nothing of it. If you notice these things occurring regularly, just point it out to your child the next time they are doing the task.
- Ease your child into chores. Don’t just hand them a mop and expect them to get cleaning immediately. Instead, the very first few chores should be done with you present and helping them. Kids learn best through imitation, and having you on hand to show them how it is done will allow them to pick it up more easily.Further, it allows you to show your children exactly how you want the chores to be done, which makes things easier for everyone. This applies for any new chores you’ve given them too.
- Be generous with praise. This is for your kids as much as for a cleaner home. Whenever your child has done their chores, praise them for being so helpful.If they do an especially good job, or they’ve done a bit more than they usually do, give them an extra bit of praise or even a small treat (see below). Such positive reinforcement will ensure they are more enthusiastic about their chores.
- Make it routine. We do chores every day and if lunchtime has come and they haven’t done them yet, we remind them. I don’t let them “skip days”. If so, they may decide that they can just leave it alone until someone else does it.
- Make it fun. Give the kids a cleaning kit (you can win one from Merry Maids… check out the details below) and let the kids pack it full of their favorite cleaning things. (Our oldest son likes to use cleaning gloves, while our youngest son is happy as long as he has the green cleaning rag.)
I asked him to show me what was inside…
Other ways to make it fun…
Instead of yelling about the mess, plan a treasure hunt. A treasure hunt with fun clues and a prize is the perfect way to get kids involved and reward them for their efforts.
- Make notecards with easy clues that lead to a chore.
- Once each chore is complete, hand out another clue. At the end of the hunt, give a grand prize and runner-up prizes.
- The reward for parents? A clutter-free home.
- Merry Maids experts Jane Santos and Tim Griess both recommend a “Toy Jail;” a basket where toys go if kids don’t pick them up and mom or dad have to clean up the clutter. The toys can be returned to kids only when they finish their chores.
- Think about allowance.
This is something you have to decide for yourself. Do you want to offer an allowance and then stop buying things when you are out “just because” or do you want to keep doing that and tell them that it is because they helped you, so now you are helping them. It is a toss-up and there isn’t a “right” answer.We just started an allowance. Each child gets money and they can keep a few dollars to spend, but the rest goes into a “fund” for their activities (Ex: guitar lessons, buy new spikes for football, etc…)
Mary Ann Jernigan, Merry Maids expert, suggests having each chore equal a dollar amount kids can earn and spend on their favorite things. If kids stick to the chart and complete chores for a week, take them on a fun field trip
Another easy system:
If you want to start chores with your kids, but not have to deal with a chore chart, try these. We have them & they are easy and they are “normal” chores, like sweep the floors, dust, clean up the living room, etc… It makes it easy to say “Ok everyone – go grab 2 chore sticks and then you are done and you can go play.”
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