Keeping a clean house is a group effort—at least, it should be. My husband and I tried to do it all ourselves for a while, but then we wised up. We realized we aren’t the only ones living in our house, and at times, it seems like the kids make more messes than we do! So we needed to get the entire family involved in the clean-up effort. Easier said than done, right? You get where I’m coming from if you have ever asked (read: begged) your kid over and over again to pick up after themselves.
Your kids are capable of more than you think. Despite the fact that they are young and may sometimes play up the helpless angle, there are many ways they can help out around the house. Try giving them one (or more!) of these six realistic chores to get your kids involved in taking care of the home. They might just learn a little responsibility in the process!
Load the Wash
If your kids, like most, take off their clothes at the end of the day and leave them on the floor in a heap, you’ll appreciate this tip: Have them place their dirty clothes directly in the washer. Keep a basket nearby for whites and delicates to go through and sort later, but teach the kids to load their school and play clothes themselves.
Care for Something Green
With the warm weather, who doesn’t love a chance to get outside? One of my kids’ favorite jobs is watering the plants outside. After all, what kid doesn’t like playing with water? I do recommend teaching kids the proper watering methods before letting them loose with a hose. This is an especially fun job when kids have planted their own seeds and can watch them grow as they water them.
Make it easy for your kids to put things back where they belong. I started labeling bins, baskets and shelves in our playroom so the kids know where things belong. If your child isn’t reading yet, you can even label bins with photos.
Another easy way to teach your kids to keep things tidy is to have your kids go through their rooms every few months or so and pick out five toys they don’t use any more to donate. Drop them off together to a charitable organization so they can see how donating helps a child in need. Your kid gets the satisfaction that comes from doing a good deed and you get one more room in your home less cluttered. That’s a win in my book!
Make the Bed
This is a great habit for kids to get into each morning, but you may have to lower your expectations for this chore. The bed doesn’t need to be made perfectly, so in the words of Elsa: Let it go.
No More Dirty Dishes
When they’re finished with a meal, teach your kiddos to clear their spot, throw away their trash and put their dishes in the sink. If your kids are old enough to trust with sharp utensils and glassware, teach them to load the dishwasher instead of putting their dirty dishes in the sink for you to take care of later. It may require some training on your part, but you’ll appreciate them saving you that extra step.
Give Older Kids a Challenge
Teens are capable of doing a lot more than younger kids. They can take on harder tasks like taking out the trash, cleaning the windows and scrubbing patio furniture. You may even consider paying older kids a few dollars as an incentive for the jobs that require a little more elbow grease.
Having kids help out around the house teaches them a sense of responsibility. Knowing they’re responsible for cleaning up their own mess may make them think twice before dumping every toy they own out of the toy box. It also helps teach them about contributing to the family and working as a team toward a common goal. So unload a few tasks from your plate and retain some of that precious sanity.