Teach Your Children Responsibility by Helping with the Housework

Published May 30, 2017 | Updated Oct 28, 2019

If you are trying to teach your young children responsibility and are coming up against a brick wall, here are some suggestions to get them back on track.

Are you having trouble getting your kids to focus on household tasks? 

These 4 tips will get them back on track:

Tip # 1: Make it Fun!

Children perform best when they are excited about the tasks that they are given. The best way to do this with housework is to turn it into a game. 

If you want your son to pick up the action figures scattered across his floor, try challenging him to a race: start a timer, & see who can pick up the toys faster. After he “wins” that game, see which one of you can clean the windows faster. Get it?

After a few rounds, make a scoreboard, & be sure to win at least once so your son develops the motivation to beat you consistently.

Once your child is confident that he can win against you 1-on-1, give him an independent task, (making his bed, putting his laundry in the hamper, etc.) and challenge him to beat his best time.

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Tip # 2: Set The Right Atmosphere

What's your daughter's favorite song? You know, the one that she listens to over & over? The one that you find yourself singing involuntarily? Play THAT song, & the mood will be right for her to get to work.

Of course, music alone can't make her do something, but if you demonstrate how to sweep to the tune of “Let it Go” from Frozen, she'll be inclined to imitate you.

Tip # 3 Lights, Camera, Action!  

If music isn't your child's thing, then dressing them up for a commercial can be equally effective: pretend that you are the director, & give your actors instructions. Tell them to vacuum up & down while looking slightly away from the camera; get them to work hard by saying that you are zooming in & out. 

Once they see the “rough copy” of the video, they'll be excited for a re-shoot. After that, you can ask THEM to come up with the next cleaning commercial.

Tip # 4: Rewards

It is never too early for a child to learn the value of a dollar; however, before dishing out the green to your little helper, start with a snack reward. Try offering to take them on a trip to their favorite ice cream shop or candy store.  If they don't have a sweet tooth, bring them to the toy store, & let them pick something. 

As they get older, you can start giving them a regular allowance for completing more important jobs, like mowing the lawn or shovelling snow.  

Getting kids to help out with the household chores is an important step in their journey of becoming responsible adults. It's not always plain sailing, but with the above tips you should have an easier time making chore time fun, and not so much a chore. 

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