Just because it is chores doesn’t mean your child has to hate it. Find ways to get ideas for how to make it fun for your kids. Get 11 different ideas for how to make it fun and also learn about the many benefits of having kids do chores.
Cleaning and chores do not need to be boring in order to be an effective teaching tool for children.
Sometimes we feel like in order for chores to really teach our kids, it needs to be serious business.
But it does not! It can actually be fun! It can be fun for your kids and fun for you!
How to Make Chores Fun
There is nothing wrong with making chore time an enjoyable experience for the whole family. Here are some ideas to make cleaning fun:
- Music: Turn on some music to keep you moving! Sing and dance as you clean. You can break for a dance party every once in a while as you clean.
- Podcasts: Turn on a podcast or audiobook that will hold your interest as you clean. This can take your mind off of the household chores while you do them.
- 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!
- Timer: Set a timer or stopwatch and see if your child can beat it. There was a period of time that I would ask McKenna how long she thought a certain chore would take her to complete. She would give me a number and I would set the timer and see if she could match or beat it. She loves to compete and this made chores more exciting for her and gave her extra motivation.
- Imagination: 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. So find some way to use your imagination to make it fun.
- Chore Incentives: You can do chore cards, chore jars, sticker charts, chore chart, 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. A chore jar might be working great right now, but in a couple of months, you will want to try something else like a chore chart.
- Rewards: Along the same lines of incentives, you can have a fun reward that everyone is working for. Maybe you will do a family activity once chores are done. Maybe you will have a movie night or a fun treat once chores are done.
- Mix Up Chore Lists: Routine is great, but sometimes routine gets boring. Chores can be more exciting if the jobs you are in charge of alternate. Maybe one week your oldest child will dust the family room and your middle child will vacuum it. Then next week they trade. At our house, we trade which bathroom we clean each month. We are still each cleaning a bathroom, but it is a different bathroom and can keep things a little more interesting than it would be otherwise.
- Contest: Have a contest to see who can complete their chores first. The tricky thing about this one is that you want everyone to do a good job at their chores, and a contest of “who finishes first” can lead people to cut corners, so you would need a rule that the chores have to be completely done. The winner can decide how to spend family time or get a small treat.
- Scavenger Hunt: You can set up a scavenger hunt while chores are being done. Maybe you do something as simple as hide pennies or candy that can be found as the dust or clean up clutter. You might make it really elaborate and they find out what chore to do as they complete the scavenger hunt. There are a lot of ways to make this fun.
- 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.
Benefits of Doing Chores
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 their youth. There is so much value in work ethic.
But there is even more than that!
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.
It helps to get kids talking to you. One of the best ways for me to get a child 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. Washing dishes together is a great way to get conversation flowing.
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 on matching as you pair clean socks. You can work in shapes and counting.
When everyone helps around the house, the load is easier on mom. She isn’t left to do everything alone, which is a benefit to the whole family.
Kids also learn personal responsibility as they are required to clean up after themselves and pick up their own toys.
There is so much value to work! But remember that it is okay to keep work fun.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Kids To Do Chores
- How to Teach Children Life Skills: 10 Steps
- How to Motivate Children to Clean Up After Themselves
- Getting Kids to Clean Their Own Messes
- 8 Rules for Kids Chores at Home
- Chores for Kids Provide More than Just Economic Value
- Learning to Love Our Work and Responsibility
- Benefits of Using Chore Cards for Kids’ Chores
- How to Raise a Child Who is a “Good Helper”
- A Complete List of Chores Your 7 Year Old Can Do
For help knowing what chores your child can do based on her age and get some printable chore cards and chore charts, get my chore cards!
This post originally appeared on the Children’s Learning Activities blog and first appeared on this blog in April 2011.