We as parents have to train and encourage our children in helping out at home. Besides the fact that it is helpful for the management of the home in the short-term, think of the long-term benefits. We want our children to enjoy their childhood, but we also have to prepare them for wage-earning adulthood. That starts at a very early age as we encourage the children to learn new tasks and contribute to the cleanliness of the home.
Train your children properly in how to do any of the chores you will assign to them. Start small children on small jobs. As soon as they can play with toys, they are old enough to pick them up. Even before our children can walk, we will bring the toy basket over to them and encourage them to “clean up” and put the toys in the basket when they are done playing. When it is time to get ready to go somewhere, they can bring their shoes to Mom to be put on. Every toddler loves to walk around with a broom, imagining that she is “helping”–so capitalize on this early imitation to encourage a love of work. Even if it is not particularly helpful at first, it is still instilling a positive lesson in your growing children.
As children age, provide them with more challenging jobs. Try to mix it up a little so they are not always doing the same things. Or, allow siblings to trade jobs with one another as long as they can properly agree on this. Try to put on some uplifting music during morning chore time, as well.
It is important, too, that you are working along side of your children. Although you may not be doing the same job at the same time, if the children are doing chores, you should be busy, too, Mom! While sometimes you might want to use that time to tend to personal matters, it is a good example to the children if you all engage in productive tasks together and work together to put our home in order. If the children complain about being asked to do something, gently remind them that sometimes we all need to help each other. Usually they are quick to acknowledge this fact and are almost always willing helpers. It is good for them to learn to serve, but they shouldn’t be made to be little house helps! Chores that contribute to home management should be considered as “team-building” activities for the whole family.
You may find it helpful to post a family chore chart so that everyone knows what they are expected to do each day. This really reduces stress for mom, particularly when there are several children in the house. It also may help to post a “clean room” checklist in a prominent location so that children can refer to the list to make sure they have done all the necessary steps for each task. When Mom does a “quality control check,” there are usually fewer things to correct if children have pre-emptive reminders in place.