How to motivate kids to do chores?
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You know that there are schools in Japan that don’t employ janitors; do you know why? The fact is that it is a tradition in Japan, where a lot of schools have their students cleaning the faculty (including the bathrooms) and maintain it. The kids are taught and encouraged to maintain a clean environment as they are the ones responsible for preserving it. Don’t you think that’s a brilliant idea? I recently read that Spain is enacting a law too on the same grounds. While we might not have a law in the United States that requires the kids to do chores, getting them to do the household chores is still very important for parents and the kid's development.
But honestly, no matter what you do, you might get bored if you do not like it. Similarly, don’t force the responsibility on the kid to do something without them understanding the importance of the task or liking to do it. Rather make the work creative to inspire them and get kids to do chores with interest. But, “chores can be exciting?” - doesn’t that sound a little awkward? With these simple tips and ideas, you can impart some interest in chores kids can do without having to threat or bribe them! Remember bribing them or threatening the kid to do a task will only result in a long-term failure.
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- Have faith in your child: You have to believe that if your kid isn’t doing a task today, tomorrow when they grow up they would NEVER ever do it. And you end up forcing them to do it now. This is a wrongful conviction. For example, if your kid does not wash his clothes right now at 8 years of age, doesn’t mean that he would never ever do it when he grows 18! There will come a time in the child’s life when they learn to do things willingly, simply because it is part of their living now. But that doesn't mean we ask them to do nothing at all. It just means that all the family members should be involved in maintaining and doing the homely chores. Household chores for kids need motivation and involving them whenever you do it. For instance, when going for laundry, take them along. Tell them the science behind the cleaning of clothes and also teach them about hygiene. Inculcate interest in them to do it by playing with them when there is still time for the laundry to finish.
- Invent challenges for the kids: For example, if your kid does not agree to clean something because you said: “please! Clean the table right away.” Then, you are sure to fail. Rather give them challenges such that they like to do it. For instance, “let’s see if you can clean the whole table with just one hand?” You know what, in such a case; not just the whole table gets cleaned but also motivates the kid to prove that they can. If you expect the kid to help you in gardening, do not give them the boring task to shovel the mud or pick up the dried leaves. Rather let them plant a flower and do the hard work. If they are able to do it getting all dirty – it is just okay. And if they couldn’t, they realize that it is a tough job to do and they must offer a help.
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- Swap it with your kid: Teaching kids chores is not just for your own benefits but for the kids to learn too. For example, if you fill up their lunch boxes and they keep it in their bag, swap it for a couple of days where allow your kid to fill up the lunch box and you would keep it in their bags. This way the kid doesn’t get bored of doing the same thing every day but also might have different ideas of what they want to take in their lunch box along with the meal. Or maybe ask them to fill up their sibling’s lunch box for a change.
- Encourage and show gratitude: When the kid participates in any of the household work, appreciate them. Everyone craves to feel important. Praise the child doing chores and you might see the uninterested kid still trying to do it to get that bit of importance again. For example, you say it to your neighbor in front of your daughter that “oh! My daughter keeps her room very clean and tidy”, you will see this do wonders. Show gratitude to the children doing chores by saying “Thank you for helping out” or “you have done a great job, thank you, darling!”
- Let your kid have a choice: Nobody likes to be bossed around. Chores for your kids might be an overhead task they feel. Tell your kid the tasks pending to do and ask them if which one would they like to complete in order to help you. When they understand the magnitude of pending work, they pick a couple of them on their own and offer to do it. Always be gentle to the kid by saying “it will be helpful if you could …..” Make them feel independent by saying “my kids have grown up and made their own bed”. They not only feel proud but also know that they are independent to do things of their own and motivated at the same time.
- Nag, Nag and Nag: We assume that nagging only put you to think negative? The truth is more than just this. It is not always negative as when you nag, you remind your kids over and over again to fulfill their responsibilities. As a parent, you cannot expect your kids to learn their task right away but make them do it as part of the chore system in your home.
- Respect your kid’s downtime: Do not forget that they are just kids. When a kid truly respects their daily plan for play then take that into account and let them have their playtime. Do not assign work during those hours. Kids doing chores must be given their own space and time to plan their day as far as possible.
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