How do I get kids to help around the house?

I hear from a lot of my clients that they struggle to get their kids to help around the house with cooking, cleaning and looking after their own areas. This needn’t be such a struggle. The main aim of what I do is to help mums reduce their mental load and removing the constant need to remind your children what they need to do, is a perfect way to achieve this. There are a few simple steps to follow in order to get your children (anywhere from 1 years old and up) helping more around the house on a regular basis.

Step 1 – Age appropriate jobs

You can’t ask a toddler to clean the bathroom and mop the kitchen and expect it to happen, but you can ask these things of a teenager. However, you will have to train them on how to do it much earlier. In fact, the earlier you can start your children helping out around the house, the better they will be able to help you when they’re older.

The key to this step is to ask them to do age appropriate jobs. Teach them to do jobs that they are capable of doing at their age. The aim is to let them experience success so they will get excited when they get to contribute to the running of the household. If you have kids, you know how much they want to help and be just like you. So let them. Choose jobs they can learn to do and be successful at.

Here is a guide for you:

Step 2 – Family contribution or reward

What words do you use when you ask your kids to help you? Do you use “chores”, “jobs” or “duties”? I’ve got another one for you – “family contribution”. When your children see their jobs as contributions to the family unit and the home, rather than the jobs they have to do, they have a completely different perspective about them.

I also recommend a further strategy that works particularly well for older children and teenagers. Write up a full list of all the things that have to happen for your home and family to run smoothly on a weekly basis. Then assign these items to everyone in the family. Have a family discussion about it. Negotiate with your children about which contributions they would like to make. After all, as long as some of these things are taken off your plate, does it really matter which ones? This list can be revisited as often as you like. If one of your kids complains about their contribution, tell them they can choose a different one. Easy!

Do you want to use a reward system for when your children complete their contributions? You can consider some contributions as just that “contributions” and then offer some others as extras that get rewards. I’ve seen some great set-ups where each contribution has a monetary value associated with it and children can choose to do extra items whenever they choose to earn some extra money. This significantly reduces the nagging and debating that happen during the running of a home.

Step 3 – Routine

Kids thrive on routine – that is a scientific fact. They are more settled when they know what to expect and what their day will be like. They enjoying know what your expectations are and what the consequences will be if they don’t meet your expectations. The best thing you can do is set up routines when it comes to kids and helping out around the house. Are there certain things they should do in the mornings or after school? Don’t overwhelm them but instead make it the same few things they have to do each day. The number of things they have to do should be proportional to their age and developmental capabilities.

Our family

So how does all of this work in reality? At the time of writing I have 5 (almost 5 1/2) year old twins (one boy and one girl). We have successfully implemented these above strategies to streamline our weekday mornings and afternoons and make our family time much more enjoyable. We have amazing Mission Magnets which the kids control to monitor their achievement of their contributions.

These magnets have so many advantages. Most importantly, I am not constantly nagging about what the kids need to do – I am in the routine of saying “time for your missions”, or “what’s your next mission?”, or “have you finished your missions yet?”. If they forget what they have to do or when they have to do it, they simply check out the mission board and they have clear pictures (because they can’t read all the words yet) telling them what needs to be done. They physically move the missions over to the ‘done’ side so they feel the satisfaction of completing their missions.

These magnets can also be used to map a plan of the day so children have an understanding on the schedule with things such as doctors appointments, trips to the shop, swimming lessons or someone visiting. There are so many to choose from and you can customise it every day to suit your schedule.

Are you ready to join me?

You will no longer be ‘telling your child what to do’ but you will be setting them up for success by having clear and easy-to-follow steps. You can become their cheerleader, not their micro-manager, which will boost their motivation, independence and self-esteem. So, are you ready? Until the end of June, use the discount code essentials10 to receive 10% off your order with Mission Magnets.