Since being a mother, I’ve noticed that there are quite a few things that cause me to lose my temper. Going into motherhood, I pictured myself as a calm and collected parent. In many instances for me, this has not been the case. But of all the things that get my blood boiling, nothing puts me over the edge like a disastrous house. My husband and kids can attest to this. Since realizing this about myself, I’ve tried various things to help myself not get so angry or upset when my house is inevitably messy (‘cause no matter how much you clean, if you have kids, mess will follow). One thing that’s made a big difference is teaching my daughter the importance of helping around the house. If you’re wondering how you can get your young kids to do the same, here are some tips!
Encourage your kids to help from a young age. Young kids love to help, and teaching them how to keep things clean and tidy from a young age will teach them habits and skills that will help them throughout their lifetime.
Be an Example
If you want a clean home, you have to show your kids that it’s important to you by keeping things tidy yourself. Keep your own room clean and organized. It’s not fair to reprimand your child for a messy room if your own room is in disarray. Throughout the day, clean up after yourself. For example, after I do my makeup, I always put my makeup back in the drawer instead of leaving it on the counter. If your kids see you putting items away when you’re done with them, they will learn that from you. Nothing teaches a child better than your own positive example.
Find every opportunity to teach and demonstrate ways to effectively accomplish tasks. In our home, my daughter loves to help me fold laundry. This can be a difficult chore for a 4-year-old. When she first asked me if she could help, I was tempted to tell her she wasn’t big enough. However, I quickly realized that there were plenty of ways she could contribute. For example, washcloths and rags are simple to fold. We worked together, and I demonstrated to her how to fold each one in half, then in half again.
After demonstrating to your child how to complete a task, keep working side by side with them. You will most likely need to demonstrate the task a few times (or a few hundred times), but they will be doing it independently before you know it.
Give Simple Tasks
If you involve your young kids with chores, start by giving them simple tasks that they can accomplish independently. I’ve noticed that the independence aspect of this is key. When kids feel like they have done something on their own, the pride and joy when they accomplish it encourages them to continue to help around the house.
Sometimes it’s difficult to think of tasks that toddlers and preschoolers can accomplish with little or no help. Here are some ideas that we do in our home to help you get started: