Declare a Family Chore Wars Truce

Most people don’t like to do chores. They’d much rather be able to twitch their nose or blink and have the house dusted, vacuumed, and have the dishes done and put away. Sadly, that only happens on television and chores are part of life. Teaching your children to be responsible is one of the reasons for assigning chores to your kids. Who wants their kids to grow up thinking someone else will always be there to cook and clean for them? Sometimes chore wars erupt as a result. While there’s no guarantee that all chore assignments will be met with cheers, following these tips will help end family fighting without you raising the white flag. As a parent, you want to have fun time with your kids. You probably don’t think of chore time as being fun anymore than your kids do, but there are still ways you can make all your chores more entertaining. This will encourage your kids to participate and you might even just bond a bit with your kids as a result. So how can you make chores more pleasant?
  • Start Early

Kids naturally like to mimic what their parents do. Take advantage of this tendency and encourage them to “help” as early as possible. Naturally, you don’t want little ones lifting heavy things, but they can help with dusting, setting the table, and picking up their toys. Match your kids’ physical abilities with the tasks at hand. Even if they can’t really help much, let them be a part of the task and they’ll be eager and able to help when they’re older and stronger.
  • Play Along

When kids are younger, it’s especially important to have as much fun as possible while cleaning. This may mean playing music and singing along or playing games. Often the best chores for kids are ones that allow them to move their bodies, so let them dance as they dust or sing at as loudly as they want while they vacuum.
  • Keep it Simple and Clear

It’s important to be clear with your directions and expectations. Don’t give kids a long list of tasks and instructions that’ll overwhelm them.  And don’t expect them to read your mind about what or when they should be doing something.  Explain what you’re asking them to do and when it needs to be done. With younger kids, give them one task at a time. Teach them how you want the job done by demonstrating and helping.
  • Loosen Up

Be willing to have the job done less perfectly than it would be if you’d done it. Sure, this is about getting the chores done, but it’s also about teaching your kids responsibility while ending the wars, right? If you follow up their dusting with the “white glove treatment,” they may learn to dust more thoroughly, but they’ll probably hate it and you’ll have a fight on your hands every time. Gradually give your kids more responsibility and raise your expectations.
  • Be Positive

Before you even start, get your mindset tuned to the positive. Expect that it’ll go smoothly. If your energy is up, you’ll have a much easier time getting your kids to do the task at hand. If you approach the project with dread or are waiting for the chore wars to start, you probably won’t have to wait long. Use positive words when talking about the chores and what you expect. This is a great time for you to exercise your appreciation vocabulary. Talk about how much you like it when the house is picked up, tell stories about the pictures or knickknacks that are being dusted, and mention how good the clean carpet feels under your feet. Of course, remember to praise them for the job they’re doing.
  • Scheduling, Repetition, and Rotation

Part of letting kids know what to expect includes scheduling chores. Kids like routine. Set a day or times set over a course of several days when specific chores need to be done.  Color coded chore charts can be a great help, especially if you have several kids or if your kids have mastered specific tasks and could stand to take on a little more responsibility. You want your kids to experience all the different tasks involved in maintaining a safe and healthy home. Rotate chores periodically, perhaps every two weeks or so, but don’t constantly change the routine so they don’t know what they’re supposed to do.
  • Let Kids Gravitate Towards Tasks They Prefer

As your kids grow up and take on a wider variety of household chores, you may find that they gravitate towards specific jobs. Your future arborist may love working in the yard while your up and coming chef prefers tasks in the kitchen. It doesn’t mean they won’t do chores they don’t like, but at least getting to choose some of their favorites will help sweeten the deal. Conclusion Are you saving time and energy by planning your chore days this way? Maybe and maybe not, but you will be able to have the clean home you want without all the fighting. And along the way, your kids will learn some valuable lessons about how to maintain their own home in the future. They might just discover a hidden talent or career choice along the way.  

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