Having children can mean that your orderly, routine-based household turns into utter mayhem! Of course, it makes it all much easier once your children are old enough to start cleaning up their own messes, and perhaps even helping you with day to day chores. The problem is that so many parents don’t make their young ones take responsibility for any duties around the house, when they are perfectly capable of doing so! So here are a couple of ways to ensure your children are helping out heaps at home:
Incentivize The Idea
Let’s be honest - as parents, it isn’t necessarily ideal to raise children who need an incentive before they will do anything helpful. But it can definitely be useful when they are first getting started. Reward your children with new playground equipment for your backyard, a new doll they’ve been yearning for or a set of building blocks to keep them occupied. Before you know it, helping out around home will become the norm and you won’t even need incentives - it’s just a great way to get them started!
Davina Donovan, who has numerous experiences discussing this issue as a psychologist who works with children, elaborates more on the behavioural approach of reward/punishment systems:
“There are four types of reward/punishment systems when you consider a behavioural approach to parenting children: positive reinforcement (giving a reward to increase behaviour), negative reinforcement (taking something uncomfortable or difficult away so a behaviour can increase), negative punishment (taking something away like a toy to decrease a behaviour from occurring) and positive punishment (adding something negative like a physical discipline to decrease a behaviour). We know from loads of research and anecdotal evidence that positive punishment does not work but instead creates a bucket of other problems. The most effective form of reward to increase desired behaviour is positive reinforcement - for example, if your child does something well, offer a small reward. To make this even more effective, research indicates that offering the reward intermittently is even more effective.”
Get Efficient With Chores
Nobody loves doing chores - but there are a few nifty little devices and services out there that can help make mundane activities way more efficient than they would otherwise be. Debbie Cohen-Abravanel from FoldiMate shares more on their product, to help you find your new laundry folding friend:
“We totally believe that kids can help out at home. We know that mums have so much to do to keep their home clean and organized. Since we have been sharing FoldiMate - the robotic laundry folding machine, we have had a lot of feedback that it will be possible for kids from around the age of 8 or 9 to help with the laundry folding”
Give Them A Designated Area Of The House
It can be best to assign each child a different part of your home to look after. That way they know where their responsibilities lie and they can hold themselves accountable! Try and pick areas that will be easy for them to keep clean and tidy. For example, being in charge of their own bedroom, or their younger sibling’s nursery. Nursery furniture is convenient and easy to maintain, so that’s usually a good place to start!
Alternatively, suggest a simple task such as washing the dishes or taking the garbage out. Or have a roster whereby the chores are rotated from week to week so your children know you are being unbiased and fair.
So there you have it - a few ways to get your children to be helpful little munchkins around the house. Hey, if they are helping create the mess, why shouldn’t they be the ones cleaning it up as well? The best way to enact any of the above ideas is to get your kids into a routine. Follow these tips to avoid taking the wrong approach with your children, and get them into great habits, all set up for an organised and efficient future!