Getting Kids to Do Household Chores

The best thing you can do to help your children be more involved in household activities is to, first of all, have that family meeting and discuss how everybody lives here and we all contribute to making it messy, so we all need to contribute to cleaning it up. And everybody’s equal in that, and we don’t have any one person who’s more responsible for it than others.

Then the next thing that you do is, if you notice that there’s a room that needs cleaning, ask the question instead of issue an edict about it. So you might want to say, “Look around the room. What needs to happen here?” And that trains a child to actually assess how much mess there is. Isn’t that every parents dream, that a kid can walk in and realize what’s needing to be picked up and just go ahead and do it? So, you can train kids to do this very thing. Ask the question, “What needs fixing here.” So, let’s say it’s the bedroom, and you’re in the bedroom together, and you ask that question. And the child says, “Well, there’s too much stuff on the floor.” The next thing you do is jump in and be part of the process of cleaning it up because that is modeling really good cleaning behavior for your child, and pretty soon she’ll be able to do it on her own. In the meantime, you’ve had some really good together time if you get the books and she gets the toys, or she gets the clothes and you get the books, something like that, so it’s a collaborative effort. The child doesn’t then feel trapped in a huge chore sea where she just doesn’t know what to do or where to start. If you’re there helping her start, it’s a really good method for helping her learn how to clean.