Teaching your kids the importance of household work and how they can contribute to the family through chores is an important part of parenting.
Chores offer every parent the opportunity to help kids master the types of tasks they’ll have to perform as adults. They also develop beneficial habits such as hard work, personal responsibility and (my favorite) delayed gratification. Unfortunately, many children and adolescents today have very few opportunities to practice life skills.
Lucky for you, home organizing is the perfect opportunity to involve your kids in chores and teach them how to care for a home.
Here are a few tips to help you include your entire family in a big, one-day organizing project like your back yard, aka All Camp Clean-up.
- Schedule a full day. Because kids are back in school, choose a Saturday or Sunday and mark it on the family calendar. Make it clear to your kids that you expect them to be available and help for at least 4-5 hours.
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast. And drink lots of water. A full stomach will give you plenty of energy for heavy lifting and provide you a little brain food for big decisions.
- Dress appropriately. Make sure you and your kids wear clothes that no one minds getting dirty, damaged or stained. In the case of yard clean-up, grab some garden gloves for everyone in your family to avoid splinters, spiders and other creatures that may be lurking in the dark corners of your yard.
- Do the hardest thing first. Just get it out of the way. Perhaps it’s sweeping the pool or removing a large shrub. Put whatever chore you’re dreading on the top of your to-do list. The small milestone will motivate you to keep going.
- Make it fun. Kids avoid chores because they often view it as a punishment. They can’t go play because they have to vacuum the living room. Instead, make organizing a game. Compete for who can clear the most items in 10 minutes or fill a bucket with weeds first. Be creative.
- Take lots of breaks. If you try to keep your kids engaged in yard organizing for too long, they’ll become fussy and start to complain. Instead, take a break every hour. To prevent your kids from arguing or dragging their feet, set a time limit for every task. Use a timer so they can see how much time is left.
- Ask your kids’ opinions. Involve your kids in the decision-making process. What items would they keep, donate or throw away? When you ask their opinions, they’ll become engaged in the process and want to see it through.
- Use powerful motivators. Ice cream, anyone? Instead of making a speech about responsibility and duty, motivate your kids through self-interest. Your weekend organizing spree will be a much better experience if you promise everyone a special treat that evening as a reward.
So, what are you going to get done this weekend? Let me know in the comments.
Check out this helpful article on age appropriate chores.