Winning the Chore War: Getting kids to whistle while they work (sort of!)
My kids love to work. When we call in the troops for Saturday morning family work hour, they charge downstairs, eager to tackle their assignments.
Ok, NOT! Erma Bombeck had it right when she mused, “My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.”
The real world is a little different from my fantasy. In my version of reality TV, I have to yell upstairs for my brood at least 5 times before they come trudging down, heavy in their Saturday morning glaze, reluctantly having turned off all media devices in our house. (Including LuckyKatWorld.com. Hey - we’re all about balance!)
I believe getting kids to pitch in around the house is good for them. (In the way that they’ll thank me in another 20 years.) I want my kids to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done – and helping out around the house delivers a powerful message - that they’re a part of something larger than themselves. And, that they belong.
At LuckyKatWorld.com, it’s why we invite kids to explore the WIYO (the World is Your Oyster) theme – because it empowers them to dream big, and then figure out how to make them come true. It’s a theme that underwrites a path to independence, and doing chores delivers the same message: You can do it.
Still, I love my babies and I don’t want to torture them either. So check out my “real mom” strategies when it comes to delegating household chores to the kiddos:
The Chore Wars: How about a Win-Win for the whole family?
- Set aside specific times for chores. Carve out an hour over the weekend, or a few minutes after school and get all the kids involved at once. Turn on some tunes and make it FUN!
- Assign age-appropriate tasks. Experts may not agree, but these are tips for the real world. The idea here is to teach kids a work ethic, so the chore itself does not, in my mind, have to achieve perfection. Avoid frustration and assign tasks according to your kids’ ages and interests.
- Differentiate between paid and non-paid chores. In my experience, it works best to assign regular chores for each kid to do every week, just to contribute to our family’s well-being. But we also offer our kids the chance to earn some cash for jobs that require more effort, or that no one likes to do. (Picking weeds, anyone?)
- Pile on the praise. Everyone loves encouragement. No one wants to work for a cranky, critical boss. I praise my kids while they work, and remind them that in another 20 years, they’ll get to manage family work hour!
- Get ‘em their just desserts. A job well done will eventually become reward enough for your growing brood. Maybe it’s only my kids – but they need some positive reinforcement. So when the chores are finished, we do something fun together, or indulge in something yummy – like Rice Krispie Treats (because I’m all about making things simple and easy!). Find the recipe here!
Now that’s what I call a win-win – the chores get done faster, my kids feel capable in their contributions, and we ALL enjoy some sweet eats.