Friday, April 29, 2011

Making Work Fun

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This post originally appeared on the Children's Learning Activities blog.

Cleaning and other work doesn't need to be boring in order to be an effective teaching tool for children. There is nothing wrong with making cleaning an enjoyable experience for the family. Here are some ideas to make cleaning fun:
  1. Music: Turn on some music to keep you moving! Sing and dance as you clean.
  2. Adventure: Turn it into an adventure. Dress up in your adventure clothes, find the messes, and attack them with your sponges and cleaners. We like to go on "treasure hunts" after a holiday. For example, we will go on a treasure hunt for our all of our Christmas decorations after Christmas is over. We find the decorations and bring them back to a designated spot. If something is too high to reach, the kids tell us where it is. This helps cut back on those missed decorations you find the day after you put the boxes away!
  3. Cinderella: My friend shared this. She and her girls pretend they are Cinderella and clean the house. When they are done cleaning, they dress up in their princess dresses and have a princess party.
  4. Chore Incentives: You can do chore cards, chore jars, sticker charts, lists...whatever keeps everyone motivated. Mix it up from time to time. Nothing will stay motivational forever--you need to change what you do every so often.
  5. Focus on the Serving: "Thank you for cleaning that! That is such nice service you are doing!" Use positive talk to thank your child for helping with the family chores. Even if something is "your job," it is nice to be thanked for it.
Doing chores around the house does so much more for a child than simply teaching a child how to work. Honestly, if all my child learned from chores was work ethic, that would be enough for me. People I admire in life are hard workers and learned how to work hard in youth. There is so much value in work ethic.

It will help your child be better citizens and most importantly better spouses and parents. I have in the back of my head a great gift I want to give to my future daughter-in-law--I want to give her the gift of a husband who is helpful in the home and is a hard worker. My mother-in-law gave that to me and I love it!

Work helps our mental development. It helps our character development. One of the best ways for me to get my five year old boy talking about his feelings is to work beside him for an extended period of time. At first, he talks about surface topics, but as time passes, he is soon talking about matters of his heart.

And on a more simple level, chores help children develop fine and gross motor skills. They help with colors (like when sorting laundry). You can work in shapes and counting. 

There is so much value to work! But remember that it is okay to keep work fun.

So, how do you make work fun around your house?

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ME said...

Thanks for this! I have four kids, 8, 6, 4,and 2, and recently found myself crazy and with a messy house. And realized, I don't let the kids help me, I'm a bit OCD maybe? But of course after me doing everything for this long, the kids were somewhat reluctant to start helping and working. I find two things are essential: Showing them how to do things and do them well, and rewards of some kind. Sometimes a word of encouragement or praise is enough, but we also use a chart where they can earn money for getting so many good marks, and for my son, he can earn rounds in his video game that he loves :D Also found that they work much more willingly if EVERYONE is working, not just them...which is the way we all are. And the plus? My life is calmer, more relaxed, and I'm finding more time to do fun things with them! Yay!

Jules said...


My little one is 10 mo and has been doing everything faster than normal. I have a couple of things I can't seem to wrap my head around and need your help. Malachi is on a 4hour schedule with 2 naps a day. He is awake by 7:30 and down for bed by 7:30 below is his most days routine.
I think his feeding time are supposed to line up with our eating times but how and when? The breakfast and lunch times line up great but dinner is not until 5:30. Do I feed his bottle to him when he wakes up and the other food at dinner with our food? I'm trying to transition the baby food out. Which is my other question. How do you make sure they have a full feeding when you stop the baby food?
I have given him scramble egg and toast one morning and he didn't eat it all maybe half. He was really cranky come about 9 o'clock. I think didn't get enough food to make it to 9:30 or 10. He normally stays up till 10 or at least 9:45. He had enough sleep the night before and everything else was same oh same oh. Maybe I'm not giving him enough time to eat everything? He does seem to want to stop before he is full because he is tired of chewing and feeding himself. He has never been very excited about food unless its in the morning or at night. After his bottle though he would not complain about not getting real food until he is whinny because he didn't get a full feeding. Now I'm rambling.
How do I get him off baby food? How do I only feed him real food when we eat?

7:30 wake up, 8oz. bottle 3T cereal half tub fruit
9:30 or 10 nap
11:30 or 12 wake up, 6oz. bottle whole tub of veggie whole tub of fruit
2 nap
4 wake up, 6oz. bottle 2T cereal, half tub veggie, half tub fruit
5:30 is when we eat as a family he eats some of what we are having or little snacks
7:15 bottle 8oz.
7:30 bed

Thanks for your help. I love your blog and tell all my BW friends about you.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for sharing ME! That is exactly why I go through the pain of teaching toddlers to work--so it will hopefully make life with them easier when they are older :)

Plowmanators said...


see this post:


Solids: Aligning Meals with the Family:

those should answer your aligning mealtime questions. And the babyfood question.


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