by Kathy H. Lee
In our house of nine, it seems the chores never end. I am always asking someone to clean the kitty litter, start their laundry, pick up their shoes, or unload the dishwasher. Many times I just want to do the chore myself to save time or avoid a pout or complaint. However, I have always believed that teaching children to help around the house will pay off. And this week, it has!
A few days ago I hurt my back, and I have been unable to manage daily “mom” tasks since then. My children have had to carry a heavier load—literally! I am happy to say that even though I have been unable to help, dinner has been cooked, the kitchen has been cleaned, the laundry has been washed, and the kitty litter has been emptied. As I am typing this blog post, my oldest son is mopping our wood floors. Woohoo!
If I am being honest, chores can be incredibly frustrating to me. I have a hard time understanding why my children do not automatically complete their chores without asking (yeah… I know; that is not even rational!). Over the years, we have tried different chore charts and chore methods, and we are always tweaking our system. Even though our method is not perfect, we have discovered some tricks that help get those chores accomplished.
- Turn on some music and sing along. Just today, two of my children sang the theme song from Tangled as they cleaned the kitchen.
- Make a game of it. Mopping races get a floor clean in no time.
- Encourage working together. Many hands make light work!
- Divide and conquer. Make sure everyone has a job to do, no matter how small. Some of our younger kids dust, replace toilet paper, and wash tables. The older ones help with cooking, washing the dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning their bathrooms, and more.
- Set a timer. Our children love the challenge of finishing a chore in a certain time. Celebrate a clean house by playing a family game or making a special treat together.
The bottom line is, chores can be a burden or an opportunity to make memories with our children. Let’s make memories (and enjoy a cleaner house).
This post was contributed by Kathy H. Lee. Kathy facilitates the training of early childhood teachers, administrators, and parents worldwide and is the Executive Director at Early Childhood Resources in Canton, Georgia. She is the mother of seven children (biological and adopted) and home schools them all. Kathy is the author of two Gryphon House favorites, 101 Easy, Wacky, Crazy Activities for Young Children and Solutions for Early Childhood Directors. Her newest title, The Homegrown Preschooler (co-authored with Lesli Richards) is available for pre-order now on the Gryphon House website. Connect with Kathy online and via Facebook and Twitter.