One day I entered into my son’s room, and noticed it was very messy, from top to bottom. Dirty clothes everywhere. Immediately I started to clean it and put the things in their right place.
Somehow my eyes rested on a toy chest. It was covered with fine, velvet-like dust which you are able to see only when the sunlight falls on it at a particular angle! Oh my! I called my son to come back to the room, gave him furniture wipes, asking him to clean it. He did so without any complaints. The situation was completely different before, since he did all this on his own, without my directions.
In general, kids up to 5-6 years of age like doing housework. I guess they identify with the parents in that way, wishing to behave the same as grownups. They still don’t imagine these chores as a sort of a duty or obligation, and it takes just a little of their time to clean or finish something. I remember that only a year ago, my son did not even allow dust to come near the furniture! He was faster than every speck of dust in the room.
Then he grew up and every kind of housework became an effort, a burden, something that he didn’t even consider doing. How to turn back time and make him the boy he used to be? I realized I had to think of the ways to make housework fun. In other words, I had to put a bitter pill in colorful candy wrapper hoping he would swallow it. Here are some tips how to get your kids help with the housework.
First you need to pick some housework that could be fun, like I already said. I chose to do something with house plants since I wanted to instill a love for flowers and gardening in my kids and create a culture of responsibility for something live. Plants require occasional but regular care. You will need to explain your children exactly what to do, but also let them to do the things by themselves, such as watering the plants, dusting the leaves, showering them and placing the pebbles over the top of the pots.
If you want to get this housework done without your kids making a mess, bring out the plants on the terrace or in the garden. Prepare the water for pouring as much as needed, but not too much, otherwise children can “drown” the plants. Get the kids dressed in old clothes and give them a watering can. They will probably bring along rakes and similar gardening tools. My kids enjoy watering the plants, raking, and to decorate the pots with the shells we have brought home from the beach. Now everybody is happy: my children, plants and especially me!
Some other tasks regarding housekeeping, such as dusting, sorting and grouping toys or clothes, can be interesting if you encourage competitive spirit. Thus children can compete who will be the first to finish a particular task. Parents can also join in to have stronger competition. You should let them win, of course.
You don’t have to stick just to timing. You can also use some other ways of measuring the performance (for example, the winner is the one who put more books on the shelf). Younger children are usually very fond of sorting and putting things where they belong, so you can let them place dishes in a dishwasher. After the washing is over, give them a dish cloth to wipe some of the plates.
There are so many other ways to do the housework and make it fun. You just need to discover your own methods and your kids will definitely enjoy. Or rather let them create activities and use some of their ideas later on.
Featured image credit: kellyhogaboom / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)