8 ways to get kids to help with chores – and even turn off the lights


If you’re a parent who’s never struggled to get your kids involved in chores or turning off the lights, then you’re a very lucky – and rare – parent indeed.

Like most of us, kids don’t like helping around the house and often just don’t see it as their job. After all, when they were toddlers, they didn’t have to empty the dishwasher or tidy their room, so why should they once they’ve grown a bit?

There are many reasons why children should help around the house, even from an early age. Whoever lives in a house should contribute to its upkeep if they can, and if children don’t learn to do chores, they won’t know how to take care of a house once they finally move out.

However, while the principle of getting kids to help around the house is valid, persuading them to do chores may be another matter. But it’s all in how you ask them, insists Kavin Wadhar, founder of KidCoachApp, which helps parents have engaging conversations with their kids.

“The chores, the housework, the spring cleaning, whatever we call it, it has to be done,” says Wadhar. “If you ask your kids to help you but you get the usual ‘urgh, should I?’ and “yeah, later” responses, and then think about how you approach them about what they’re doing.”

Here, Wadhar and child behavior specialist Olivia Tarry, an expert on parenting platform Bloss, share their tips for getting kids to help with chores and be even more helpful by turning off the lights regularly too…

1. Make sure the tasks are age-appropriate

Don’t ask too much of your children. “We need to have realistic expectations of our children,” Tarry stresses. “A younger child won’t be able to tidy up an entire playroom without any help – they may need to be given smaller, more focused tasks and helped with music or play timers” storage”.

2DKDMFE An African-American child has fun doing household chores. Wash the dishes in the sink.

Statements like “Because I told you so” don’t help kids achieve anything, says Wadhar, but two-way conversations by asking kids questions can help them develop critical thinking and change. their habits.

“By asking children questions about why they should do something or how best to achieve their goals, we can help them build confidence and develop critical skills,” he says. “Two-way conversations, rather than just being told what to do, teach our children to be responsible and productive and help support success and make wise future choices.

“Encourage questions – if you make time for conversation every day, asking your kids ‘why are you doing this’ and ‘how can we do it better’ etc., you will find that you need less ‘just do it’ orders in the future.

3. Make sure they understand why

Wadhar points out that good communication is an important tool in getting children to help around the house. “Communication is a vital developmental skill and children, like adults, need to understand why they are doing something. Understanding why – and not just knowing – helps them take action. They also want to feel empowered and heard, not just told what to do.

Youngsters will find it much easier to tidy up if it’s obvious where things are going, so make sure you’ve provided obvious storage solutions. “If we want kids to put things away, we need to have clear homes for things,” says Tarry. “We can help them by providing bins with labels, low level hooks, etc.”

5. Include children in decision-making

Make sure kids feel like they’ve been involved in decisions about what gets done and can suggest ideas, advises Wadhar. “We can raise our children to our level by talking to them in a way that lets them know that their thoughts and voices are valued,” he says. “Let your children participate in the decision-making, let them know that their hard work will be appreciated and has a real purpose.”

2HJ505G Top view little girl neatly folded clothes into a box for comfortable vertical storage on the shelves

He says an added benefit of talking to kids like this about chores is that they can surprise you with great ideas. “Children are smart and like to think outside the box,” he says. “Maybe they’ll find a faster way to put the groceries away.”

“Kids never fail to surprise us with their creative and thoughtful ideas. It also opens up discussion with our kids, and all that chat helps them think for themselves and do things without being told.

6. It’s not bribery, it’s an expectation

Tarry says it’s “completely acceptable” to only allow iPads or TV time after daily routines are complete. “It’s not a bribe, it’s an expectation,” she insists. “If you say something like, ‘After dinner we sweep the floor and wipe the table and when that’s done we can watch TV’, sticking to those routines really pays off in the long run, because children know what is expected of them and it becomes a habit.

2CFBPYE Little boy loading dishwasher at home

Ask the children to help you make a schedule showing what tasks are done and when, and stick it somewhere visible. “I’m a big fan of visual schedules,” says Tarry. “Kids can see exactly what is coming next/expecting them, and it also saves on your vocal chords!”

8. Help them understand why they need to turn off the lights

If your kids never turn off the lights, be sure to model that behavior yourself. “Every time you turn off a light, make a point of it and ask your child why we turn off the lights,” Tarry suggests.

And Wadhar adds, “Encourage them to ask questions like why are energy prices rising and how much money are we spending each month? All humans are more motivated when they truly understand why they need to do something – even something as simple as turning off the lights.

“Also, don’t be afraid to discuss the electricity bill and consumption with your children. Ask them how they think you can reduce it and why it matters. If kids are involved in suggesting ideas and checking bills, they’re more likely to commit to helping – it’s much more effective than just telling them to turn off the lights.

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