After years of slaving away tirelessly looking after your little ones, it’s finally time for them to help around the house – just don’t expect them to load the dishwasher straight away! While younger children may occasionally pitch in to set the table or pick up their toys, most aren’t ready to do jobs around the house until they start school – and even then it can be a pretty hit and miss affair. Initially, little ones struggle to concentrate long enough to finish their task, but offering them encouragement and gentle guidance works wonders. Here’s how:
Break down the job
Whether it’s bringing in their toys from the garden or emptying the waste paper basket, children often need tasks broken down into smaller parts to make them less overwhelming. Rather than just ask them to sort the recycling, for example, tell them to collect up all the newspapers, then bag all the cans, and so on, offering them encouragement at each stage.
Turn it into a game
Children won’t hesitate to help Mummy around the house if they think it’s a game. Pretend that all the toys have to be picked up before the magic carpet will take off, for example, or have a competition to see who can rinse the most cups in two minutes. Who says housework can’t be fun?
Everyone loves being told what a good job they’ve done, so thank them when their task is complete and let them know how happy their efforts have made you.
Awarding stars or stickers for each task well done is one way to reward children for their hard work, or you could suggest a trip to the park once you’re all done.
Remember the idea is to teach them some responsibility around the house not treat them like hired help, so be realistic in the tasks you give them. Picking up their toys is one thing, but cleaning the bathroom is probably asking a little too much!