As many of you probably know, I am all for teaching kids the fundamentals of keeping the home clean. I believe that it is a great way to teach them responsibility and make them better prepared for when they will eventually leave the nest. Kids that learn to perform such chores early on and are eventually assigned these tasks are also taught how to remain disciplined. In order to make cleaning a habit within your children, it helps to apply strategies that will positively encourage them to keep at it. With time, these habits will become so engrained you will not need to have to keep reminding them. Here are my top suggestions on how you can start to encourage your kids to get involved in cleaning and other household chores and hopefully set them on a path to being responsible young people.
Set the example
This is a case of do what I do. As you explain why they should perform a task, it is a good idea to demonstrate and even indicate what other chores you will be taking care of. When a child sees that you are putting in just as much, or more, effort in keeping the home clean and tidy, they are more likely to do as you say. Ordering them about as you relax in front of the television is likely to breed resentment. Be an example of the kind of person you want them to become. Working on the same chore, or in the same room, especially when they are younger, will help inspire them and allow you to supervise until they are able to confidently do it on their own.
Put music to it
Just as with exercise, cleaning and other household work is made more fun when you have music playing out loud. Set the radio to your child’s favorite station, or plug in their favorite playlist, and get them in the mood by singing along with their favorite songs. They will be tempted to join and soon you will all be singing as you get the work done.
Lower your storage
Sometimes kids do not bother to put away their playthings and clothing because the storage area is beyond their reach. It is a good idea to organize children’s storage in the bedroom in such a way that they can easily put things away on their own. Shelving that reaches to floor level and use of storage bins is a good idea. Storage bins are a particularly good investment for very young kids as all they have to do is throw in their items.
When choosing new furniture, especially for a child’s room, it is a good idea to involve them in the selection process. Even as you set up the room and reorganize the storage areas, let them tell you what they think will work well. The more personally responsible they feel about their rooms, the more inclined they will be to keep it tidy. The same applies to the choice of bedding and clothing. The more attached they are to these items because they chose them, the more effort they will put in keeping them clean and neat.
Assign tasks appropriately
The chores that you would assign to a 6 year old are very different from what you would give to a 16 year old. Make sure that the tasks you assign are easily achievable for a child of that age. Also, remember that with very young kids you will need to keep your instructions simple, but keep repeating them until mastered. They need plenty of reminding.
There are many colorful and fun designs of chore charts you can use to help kids keep track of their household chore responsibilities. These charts are especially helpful when you have more than one child and they want to feel that division of chores is equitable. They are also a useful reminder in case a child is forgetful of things they ought to do.