Getting Your Children to Help Around the House

12:45 AM

Let's face it, as a single mom of four boys, I need all the help I can get. I am not too proud to admit that I make my children do chores and help around the house. I am also not ashamed to say that I do not pay them to do it.

My parents never gave me an allowance and I think it teaches them that cleaning is a responsibility that must be done in life, and that you will not always be given something in return for doing it. With that being said, I do not criticize anyone who chooses to give allowance, everyone has to do what is right for their family. However, here are some tips that I use to get my children to willingly help around the house with a minimal amount of crumbling.

Let Them Do What They Like

There are no chore charts in our home. Instead, I just know by trial and error that there are some jobs that each child enjoys doing more than others. For instance, my oldest actually likes to clean is bathroom. Yep you heard me, that is always the first thing he requests to do when it is cleaning time. My second oldest likes to vacuum, my third oldest loves to sweep and the youngest doesn't really like to do anything, but will at least pick up his own toys. By allowing each child to do what they enjoy instead of forcing them to do what I want, I eliminate a lot of whining.

Divide and Conquer

I learned years ago, that if I put my two oldest in their shared room together and tell them to clean the mess up, they are going to do nothing but scream and fight with each other. It is a constant battle of "you are not cleaning" and "no, you are not cleaning." If I want their room to get clean, I place one on a chair at the dining room table and let the other clean for awhile, and then I switch. We do this a few times until the room is done. Of course, if you have only one child this probably wouldn't work for you lol.

Make it Fun

Yes, I have been known to do the MC Hammer dance around the house. Making it fun and giggling through the work makes it go a lot faster. Now, sometimes I am not in the best of moods and fail to do this. I cant tell you that is sure does go a lot faster when I make it fun for everyone involved. *Hammer Time*

Have a Light at the End of the Tunnel

While I don't pay my children to clean, I will offer them a little incentive. For instance, I won't take them to the park until the house is done. Or, we won't have Popsicles until they finish their rooms. By offering this glimpse of fun or a treat, I offer them a reason to not fight and quickly get the work done.

I am by no means a slave driver, but I believe that all children need to be taught basic life skills. My children don't clean everything in the house, but they do have to clean up the messes they specifically made, and the tips above help us and I hope they can help some of you as well.

Feel free to leave your tips on how you clean around your home with the kids!

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  1. found your blog through traci66 and love your cleaning tips! I have two boys and getting my three year old to pick up toys is a full days work :) SO I will give your strategies a try and see what we come up with...thx! Glad I found your blog...I am raising two boys, so I'll be interested to read your future posts!

  2. Hi,
    I found your blog through Tuesday Tag-Along and I follow you now!

    Let's Win!

  3. Hey! Following from Tuesday Tag along.

    It's great that you can get your kids to clean. It's very surprising that your boy likes to clean the bathroom but oddly, I was the same way.

    Hope you have a good week!

  4. Hi! Thank you for coming to visit me ... returning the follow ... :)

  5. Hi! Thanks for visiting. Im now following you back from TT.

  6. Hello from Trailing Tuesdays! I am a new follower on your blog, Twitter & FB. I actually commented on your FB account before I found your blog. Hope you follow back.

  7. I agree with you. Most of our "jobs" are non-paid jobs. We do however post a list of jobs in our house in which they can earn a "commission." We do this so we can start teaching them that they need to separate their money in three ways: save, give, and spend. These "jobs" are usually harder things like pulling weeds (to the best of their age ability), folding other people's laundry in the house, etc.

  8. Awesome. I recently got a mini vacuum for my little man. He loves it and vacuums up little crumbs on the floor. Kids love to help, you just have to be patient and give them the opportunity. I also sing a song when we clean up together. I also practice what i preach. I always make it a point to show my son that mommy always cleans up after cooking, baking etc. And that speaks louder than just telling them to clean up. Keep up the good work mama!

  9. Thanks everyone for the great input. The posting extra "jobs" idea is actually not a bad one, especially if it is something they can choose to do that is in addition to their regular chores. It allows them to take the initiative to earn something for themselves. Great idea!

    Lisa, it sounds like your little guy is off to a great start. My son wrote in his journal and shared with me one day that "mommy should really take a break because she cleans all the time, but that is never going to happen." lol.

  10. i just found your blog via TTA and I love it! I have two boys, I will be back often!
    I'm following you now from TTA, follow me back!

  11. Great tips! My girls are still a little on the young side, but I definitely encourage them to clean and be responsible whenever they can.

    Thanks for stopping by, I'm following you now as well :)

  12. We have two boys in each room and the older ones end up brawling every time I declare it "room cleaning day". I usually end up putting one at the table as well. Glad I'm not the only one! Now I just need to know how to get them to stop throwing everything on the floor.

  13. Leah, there is not a cure for that one lol.I have tried everything imaginable and their idea of playing still seems to be removing everything from the shelves and throwing it on the floor. Glad to see my children are not as abnormal as I thought. :)

  14. Hey there, following you from MBC. Thanks for following my blog!!I completly agree that kids need to do chores and learn responsibility and I have tried to get my kids to help out. My problem is the screaming and whining everytime i ask them to do something, so hard! anyways, hope to hear more from you soon!!


  15. Thanks for the follow, I'm following back :)

  16. Great tips! I totally agree with the idea of getting kids to help out around the house without any form of financial incentive attached.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and following, too! I am now following you back!
    -Jessica a.k.a Nya's mom

  17. I don't have kids, but if I have some in the future I will make sure to follow your tips :)
    Following you from TTA.


  18. Thanks for following me from TAT! Following you back! If you count my husband, I have 4 boys (and 1 17 year old girl, which equals four boys EASILY) too! Nice to meet you!

    xo Erin

  19. Great advice. I'm going to use it. I'm trying to survive with 3 boys, well 4 if you count their dad. New follower in the house from TTA! So glad to be here, hope you'll return the favor!

    Lost of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

  20. thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm following back

  21. I'm a new follower through Trailing Tuesdays. I followed GFC, Facebook and Twitter. I'd love follow backs!

  22. Thanks for following me ~ I'm following back! I love this post ~ right now my kids LOVE to help clean or straighten up and sometimes they get a little prize from our "prize basket" which is made up of random cereal box toys or happy meal toys, etc. :) I'm enjoying the help while I have it (willingly)!

  23. I'm a new follower of Tuesday Tag along. please follow me back.
    Thanks, Mr. Monkey

  24. Great ideas! What age do you think is best for starting to do chores??? I have a 3 1/2 year old and I'm trying to get him into "helping" as much as possible. Great post!

  25. Kimberly, I started mine with "helping" me clean up their toys as young as two, but at that age it was not something they had to do. I just simply tried to make it into a game and get them used to doing it. Once it becomes a habit at a young age, they will not grumble so much when they have to do it at an older age.

    To everyone visiting from a Tuesday hop, I have visited you all as well and thanks for coming by!

  26. Great tips! Thanks for following my blog, I am now following you back! I love your layout too, very cute!

  27. Hey Kathleen,

    Just wanted to stop by and thank you for the nice comment on my blog. I am really glad that you got some more entries from the Low Entry Lowdown, and I appreciate that you took the time to stop and let me know :)

    Blessings to you!

    Ten Talents...

  28. I love some of your ideas. We try to get our kids to do some chores around the house too (we actually just recently started our own rewards system and they also have their own chore charts).

  29. Hi,
    Thank-you for visiting my blog.
    I am following you too.
    Have a great week.

  30. Thanks for stopping by I'm now following you back. I loved your post about work from home jobs! I will be following on Wednesdays and am interested to see all the other opportunites you know of!



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