Kids love to make a mess, but cleaning? Usually not so much. We know that getting kids to clean up the mess they leave behind is often a challenge, but we've figured out the secret!
Having some extra hands to clean and tidy around the home is not only helpful for you, but helpful for your kids' future as well. An ongoing, 80+ year study conducted by Harvard, known as the Harvard Study of Adult Development, has shown that professional success in life comes partially from having done chores growing up. Having your children from a young age certain complete chores has many positive benefits, especially if they are encouraged and rewarded properly – and sets them up for a successful future. Here’s what we know about having your children do chores:
6 Benefits of Having Children Do Chores
- It creates good habits for the future. Children often mimic behaviour. The way they act is oftentimes a reflection of their surroundings and of learned behaviours. If they see you cleaning up a mess after you have made one, washing your dishes when you are done eating, etc, they will more than likely do so as well. So they may already naturally be inclined to do these things or open to the idea since they see you doing them. You may be able to recruit an extra pair of hands for cleaning just because they see you doing a chore and they want to copy you.
- It shows them the importance of caring for the home and keeping a space clean and tidy. Teaching them how to wash the dishes or make their bed not only creates good habits, it allows you an opportunity to teach them why it’s important to do these things as well. It allows your child to be taught why they need to help keep your home clean and how to properly handle situations when there is a mess.
- It encourages them to work together towards a goal. By giving your child a task to complete, you are showing them that by working together with everyone else in the household you can reach a common goal. It shows them that everyone in the household is equal and must do their own part to keep the home clean, and it also provides them with a rewarding feeling of knowing that they contributed and played a role as well.
- It teaches them responsibility and instills initiative. A child who is given chores and tasks to do grows up to be responsible adult, who is independent and capable of taking care of themselves. They are able to prioritize tasks and distinguish the urgency of something.
- It fosters a good work ethic for their future. Having a child complete chores allows them to understand the importance of time management, deadlines, and meeting certain expectations. It teaches them that essential tasks need to be completed before they can have fun, like playing with their friends or they get a treat like ice cream. It also teaches them that their hard work has a payoff and a reward.
- It can show them the importance of taking care of the planet. Having your child complete chores can allow for you to teach them about how to take care of our planet as well. How to recycle, what compost is and what it's used for, even the old classic, why you shouldn’t let the water run when you’re washing dishes. Using eco-friendly cleaning products and making more mindful, environmentally-conscious choices of the products you allow into your home also inspires your child to do the same when they are older as well.
How to Get Your Kids Involved in Cleaning
Now this might not be an easy task, depending on their age already. However, there are a few techniques that you can use to get your kids involved in cleaning and to motivate them to do their chores. Here are some fun, easy ways to get your children involved in cleaning and tidying up your home!
- Make Doing Chores Fun
There are plenty of ways that you can make doing chores fun for your child! Turning cleaning into a game is an easy way to get your child excited and focused on the task at hand. You can turn it into a game by setting a timer and having your child race to tidy as many of their toys as they can or make their bed in under 5 minutes. Playing music while you all house clean can also make your child excited about doing their chores. You can add in some funny moves when sweeping or encourage a 1 minute dance break.
- Teach Them How to Properly Complete a Task
Nothing discourages a child more than being told they’ve done something wrong. When it comes to cleaning and having them do chores, it's important to take the time to show them how to properly do a task. It’s also important to remember that more than likely the execution of the job won't be the greatest, but it's the effort that should be appreciated. If you need to show your child again how to complete a task, it is important to speak calmly and kindly and not get angry and frustrated with them. Doing so will more than likely make them resent doing their chores or feel like they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do.
- Praise and Encourage Them
Make sure to show your child how much you appreciate them doing their chores and praise them for it. It will encourage and motivate them to want to do their chores, as they feel special when you recognize them for good behaviour.
- Reward Them For Good Behaviour
Attaching a reward for completing a task or chore is a good way to motivate and encourage your child to do them. It gives them an incentive for their hard work and also shows them the importance of compromisation.
Chores You Can Have Your Children Do
While chores depend on your child’s age, here are some tasks you can consider giving them, with your supervision:
- Clearing their plate and cup from the table after they are done eating.
- Washing the dishes (with your help or supervision).
- Tidying up their toys.
- Making their bed.
- Helping to sort laundry.
- Helping to fold the laundry.
- Wiping or sweeping up any spills.
- Empty indoor garbage cans.
- Vacuuming or sweeping small areas.
Creating a daily and weekly cleaning schedule, and writing the schedule on a big bristol board, chalkboard, or whiteboard to hang in a common area of your home, will help you and your family to stay organized, act as a reminder, and help to ensure that chores are being completed.
Having your child complete chores around the house and contribute to cleaning and tidying your home can have many positive benefits. It can teach your children responsibility, educate them on the importance of caring for our planet, and instill dedication and initiative in them. It also gives you an extra hand around the house and creates an everybody-pitches-in mindset in your home. By making chores fun and rewarding experience, your child will be more open to helping around the house and understand the importance of keeping the house clean and tidy!