Which chores for kids create a family community?
With boys between the ages of three and seven home all day every day, you can imagine the condition of our home. Friends and family are greeted by LEGOS and magnetic tiles at the foot of the front door.
Food is eaten, clothes are worn. – One can assume that I am the quickest and most efficient straightener in the house. I can scoop and sort like no other.
But wait just one second. How is doing things better than everyone else helping us build a community that works together long term?
You guessed it. It isn’t.
So I took some time to reflect and research what makes children helpers in their adult years. I want life skills that not only help our home right now but also build considerate adults.
Chores for kids don’t have to be complicated. They have to make sense. Say goodbye to the chore charts and laminated cutouts. These are practical ways kids can get on board with chores.
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Build a family community that encourages everyone to work together.
I’ve been a server at many restaurants; however, one restaurant functioned like none other.
This restaurant required full hands in and full hands out. I entered the seating area with a plate in hand and walked back to return with an item to the kitchen. The energy and mission of the restaurant were that everyone worked together as a team. No empty hands. No designated tables. We all worked together to help the restaurant hum.
This got me thinking.
How can I create chores at home with the same philosophy as full hands in, full hands out?
Can I create lifelong habits rather than a simple to-do list my boys rush to complete?
It turns out there are three simple changes to help implement chores for kids at home.
What are good chores for kids?
Children are natural helpers. When we invite them to be a part of daily chores, they gain confidence in themselves and ownership in thier environment.
Good chores for kids are the ones that they ask to be a part of.
Think about when and where your children ask to help.
- Preparing meals
- Packing the cooler
- Washing thier dish
- Folding laundry
- Packing suitcase for a trip
- Feeding pets
- Washing outdoor toys
- Spraying down the back deck
- Packing sport equipment
- Wash windows
- Putting a new bag in the garbage
- Adding clothes into the washing machine
Finding these windows when our children are asking us to help is key! When they ask to help, say yes! – Even when we know we can do the same job with less error.
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1. When our children ask to help with chores, jump on it!
When our children show interest in a chore and insist we can do it better, it only pushes them away. It teaches children they are incapable and not needed.
Instead, invite your child to help when they show interest.
My three-year-old loves to be involved in making pancakes. First thing in the morning, I am not typically one to welcome the help. I like to zip it together and call it a day.
However, I am committing to allowing my three-year-old to help when he shows interest. Some days, he asks to crack the eggs, and others, he heads directly to his Breakfast Invitation. But when he shows interest, I invite him over to help.
Allowing my three-year-old to help when he shows interest builds confidence and reminds him of the value he adds to our family.
2. Think about daily routines, and add one more step.
We all eat many meals around the kitchen table. This is familiar to many homes around the world.
Rather than eating and leaving, I encourage the boys to bring up their plate and wash it in the sink. Sure, the water goes everywhere, and more soap is used than needed.
Yet doing so builds habits that will soon become second nature. Just like the full hands in, full hands out at the restaurant, we are developing habits that promote working together and fluidity within the house environment.
It is also creating a habit that builds a closer family unit. We take care of one another and do our part.
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3. Find the same time each day for a group cleanup.
We keep our group cleanups around the same time each day. By late afternoon, we break for TV time or quiet time. Before heading to the couch, everyone pitches in to reset the main floor for the following day.
My five and seven-year-old like a quick job checklist.
I grab a piece of scrap paper and make checkboxes and the work that needs to get done. Doing so keeps them on track and allows them to understand better what’s expected to move on to downtime. When they complete a task, they check it off the list.
This is a simple and quick way to remind children what needs to be done without saying it 1 million times. – rough estimate, but I can sure feel that way.
PRO TIP: Not ready to clean up? Offer to take a picture of the build so they can work on it again the next day. Another idea is to plan where to keep the special build and clean up the parts and pieces surrounding it.
Chores for kids at home don’t have to be complicated.
Again, we want to acknowledge help when offered around the home. We also want to add simple steps to our routine that encourage help and cooperation. When we are ready for a group cleanup, we work together and understand our part.
Over time, we will see more confident children and encourage our children to be lifelong helpers.