Chores and fun may sound like opposing ideas, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Ask any parent: It’s all in the approach. The more parents can bring the kind of energy they bring to playtime to chore-time, the easier time they will have getting the kids to buy in. Of course, adjustments must be made for age differences, but the basic premise remains the same with the family chores. Stay calm and keep it light!
Here are some helpful starting places:
1. Hide treats, stickers, or pennies in, on, or under knickknacks, then ask your child to dust. She gets to enjoy the rewards only when everything is dusted.
2. Post individual lists of chores kids can do (one for each child in your family). Whenever your child accomplishes a task, have her mark it with a sticker. Whoever has the most stickers at the end of the week gets the Helper of the Week award.
3. Play “Go Fish” with a basket of clean socks. Divide the socks among the players, leaving a pile to draw from. Each player, in turn, holds up a sock and asks another player if he has the mate. If not, the asking player must take a sock from the top of the draw pile. When finished, the player with the most pairs wins.
4. Turn any socks that stay single into child-friendly dust mitts. Insert child’s hand into clean but dampened sock and use it to remove dust from houseplants and furniture.
5. Have a scavenger hunt. Make a list of everyday items (newspapers, magazine, shoes, etc.). Set a timer for 5 minutes, then have kids collect stray items throughout the house. The winner is the child who picks up the most (and returns them to their rightful spots).
6. After dinner, do a “10-minute Tidy.” Set a timer and have family members scatter through the house putting away the day’s clutter.
7. Appoint someone to be Inspector D. Clutter. Armed with a laundry basket and plastic police badge from the dress-up box, this person roams the house and puts stray belongings into clutter “jail” (the basket). To set an item free, its owner (Mom and Dad included!) must do a chore.
8. Turn a bucket into a personalized cleaning caddy. Use permanent marker to write your child’s name on it and have him decorate its with other drawings. Store supplies such as sponge, dustrag and roll of paper towels, etc.
9. Show them the money? Some experts believe allowance should be reserved for teenagers. School-aged children will easily get behind the idea that chores are something you do as a member of the family — not for money. They’ll be excited just to show off their skill at completing a task.
Just another ShopRTO Having Some Fun in the Home tip.