I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t enjoy some extra help around the house.  Of course you can always call Dust Bunnies of Hampton Roads, but why not start with people who are already in your home? Studies have shown that giving children responsibility at a young age helps them become more responsible as they grow up.  Children are never too young to help with basic household chores.

Here are a few ways to encourage your kids to help with household chores.

First, decide what tone you would like to set for housework.  Some parents encourage their children to take responsibility at home by giving out an allowance for completing particular tasks, granting extra privileges, etc.  While there is nothing wrong with that system and it works well for many families, you want to make sure that household chores are perceived as a contribution, not as a punishment.

In my home, household chores are seen as everyone’s responsibility since we all live in the home together.  I don’t get paid for cooking dinner or washing laundry, so by the same token I do not pay my children to set the table or clean their room.  The only reward we all get for pitching in is a tidy home where we can find everything we need and a harmonious family.  If you will be using that philosophy, decide best how to explain that to your children.  If you plan to have a reward based system, plan that out instead.

Start where they are.

Literally.  If your children have a room or space that is theirs, start there.  They can first be shown, then helped, then encouraged on their own to put away items they take out and keep their belongings neat and tidy.  Help them to take pride in their space and their possessions.  Show what can happen to toys or books that are treated carelessly or not put away.

Of course, parents, you need to model this behavior as well.  If you are going to leave your shoes where you kicked them off or leave your desk in disarray then it will be difficult to expect your children to behave differently.    For school aged children, don’t forget about other areas of the home where they may keep their backpacks, lunch boxes, school communications, etc.  Make a plan with your kids to keep those areas organized as well.

As your children continue to grow, look for new tasks they can take on.  My elementary aged kids like to help set and clear the table and help with feeding pets.  They are also a great height for dusting the under-sides of furniture and table legs.  My son loves to carry a roll of cleaning wipes around the house and wipe dust and dog fur off of all the baseboards.

Keep chores fun!

Switch up tasks and praise good work and great attitudes.  Don’t forget to keep them age appropriate and let older siblings pass jobs down to younger ones when they take on new jobs.  LOOK HERE FOR CHORES BY AGE.  Check out our Family Cleaning Board on Pinterest for some other helpful hints!

Starting your kids off early with household chores will not only make your home run more smoothly and lighten your work load, it also helps them grow and develop.  We all want to see our children mature into responsible and productive adults and that teaching starts early at home.  Young children enjoy learning new skills and being helpful.  Use that opportunity to show them ways they can work beside the rest of the family in maintaining a clean and happy home.