Having your little ones join in on chore time is one of the best ways to nurture tidiness in the home. I’ve found that when my children are given age appropriate tasks to accomplish during their daily rhythm & a little bit of guidance, household chores become a breeze around here. They take more pride in our home, have a deeper gratitude for our things, and they feel like competent & capable members of our family. There are so many benefits to teaching your children a few simple chores and I don’t just mean clean floors & folded laundry. It teaches responsibility, teamwork, and consistency. Our family views household work as a team sport and we encourage working together to keep it tidy. After years of being intentional & mindful in this area I finally feel like I’ve found our groove and now i’m sharing all my tips for children’s chores made simple with you.
Obviously, Rome was not built in a night, so if you’re struggling to find a chore routine that fits the season your family is in know that our family didn’t always run smoothly in the chore department. As young parents we weren’t quite sure how to teach tidiness and took on a lot of the cleaning & picking up ourselves. We were so exhausted! That’s when I decided to start overhauling the way we approached chores and over the years we have found a few tried & true tips that work with all of our children from toddler to preteen.
Here are my tips for children’s chores made simple:
START THEM YOUNG
Don’t wait to start involving your small children in household tasks. Toddlers are little sponges and will pick up the habits and behaviors you model for them. When folding laundry or picking up toys, involve your young child. Show them where their items belong and create a routine around putting them in their homes each day. Be intentional about really including your child in the household tasks you do and approaching chores with a positive attitude and conscious language. If our children hear us constantly complaining about the household tasks we have to complete that will create negative associations in their mind, ultimately creating a power struggle when it’s time to clean. We like to think of our chores as a gratitude practice. We keep things tidy to show our home how thankful we are for it and we approach housework with an “I get to” not an ” I have to” mindset. Our children see this behavior and follow suit.
It can be so easy to take on all the housework yourself so you can get it done quickly and right the first time but when we do this, we are taking learning opportunities away from our children. Giving them the space & guidance they need to accomplish a chore isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of practice in patience, stepping back, and trusting your child but the lessons you both learn will be worth it every time. Take the time to explain the chore to your child, demonstrate it for them, and then let them do it themselves. It probably won’t be done perfectly the first time, but after a few tries and your encouragement they will learn how it’s done. Avoid jumping in & taking control of the situation- you can always re-fold those towels or straighten up those shelves later. Create an environment where your child feels safe to learn, ask questions, and accomplish things on their own.
CREATE A RHYTHM
Consistency truly is key when we are talking about chores. Every single day your child should be doing virtually the same simple tasks at the same points during your day. After every meal, your child is clearing plates. Before bedtime begins, they are picking up their room. Soon this routine will become second nature to your child, just a normal moment in their day. When children know what comes next in their day to day, it removes their anxiety around transitions and creates less whining, tantrums, and stress. Having chores be a part of their rhythm along side playing and meals is a great way to make housework a more positive experience for everyone involved.
USE VISUAL CUES
For younger children, visual cues can be a very helpful tool for making chore time fun. Things like chore charts, jars, or cards make assigning and keeping track of chores more like a game to be enjoyed. You can use stickers to encourage smaller children to complete tasks or print chore cards to hand out & display to older children so they know what work still needs to be done. There are so many fun systems out there on Pinterest but for us, simple is the way to go. We created printable chore cards, printed them out, laminated them, and then hung them in a place where our children could see. Throughout the day as the chores are finished they are taken down and put into a jar. This is a great way for us all to see what still needs to be tackled each day and all the work we’ve done. Instant sense of accomplishment! Want to download your own simple chore cards? Keep reading!
DO IT AS A FAMILY
I used to send my younger children off to their rooms to clean up while I would get other tasks done around the house. Every single time without fail I would return to find their rooms even more messy than before! Just because our children know what to do and how to do it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will stay on task. Young children have a really hard time focusing and completing things from start to finish, especially in a space that is filled with distractions & things to play with. I had to learn the hard way that if I really want to get things tidy in my home, we had to do it together. These days I don’t send my younger kids off by themselves to get things done, I join them and keep them on task along the way. When I am more intentional and present with them during our housework it always gets done quickly & we always have a lot of fun.
I hope these tips help you craft a daily routine that works for your family & brings you peace during chore time. I know how much they have helped us on our journey to hassle free chores.
Do you want to download your own FREE simple chore cards? Simply click THIS link to grab the PDF file. From there you can print onto card stock, laminate, and use however you see fit.