Thursday, February 05, 2009

Get Your Kids to Help!

Thursday's are the best days for me to get things done around the house. I don't have to work, I don't have to teach guitar lessons, and if Dude is off track no one has to go to school. I really look forward for Thursdays!

When my work schedule changed in January my hubby had to start taking Fridays off work so I could work all day. He declared this as his "House Work Day". He deep cleans the house while I work all day. I love it! I really look forward to Fridays too.

I am pretty sure that our kids don't like either of those days. They are kids! What kid likes to clean? Mom and Dad didn't make all the mess though and they know that it isn't fair that we would have to do it ourselves. They are expected to help and they know that. We have tried a few things around here that has actually helped them with cleaning up. I thought I would share those things.

Toddler Age- When my kids where really little the didn't understand the concept of cleaning, but I wanted to start teaching them young. We always start off by singing a clean up song. They loved this. They started to understand too what the words clean up means if we would sing and start to pick up. Once they would learn their colors we would sort things into color piles and pick things up by color. The trick is making a game out of it. All little kids like to play games and if Mom and Dad are playing with them they hardly see they are cleaning.

Preschool Age- When my kids got a little older the caught on that we were cleaning and not just playing. Plus it was time to start teaching them to do it on their own. I made a bunch of chore cards that are only pictures, no words. We talked about what each of them were and on the days I would clean the entire house I would get the cards out and give each of them a few. We would lay their cards on the table and when they would get the chore done they would come over and turn the card upside down. They would try to race to see who could get done first. This was still a game, but just a different one. They were still too little to understand that though. Mommy always inspected and it wasn't done until it was done right.

Early School Age- We spent a lot of time teaching the kids what each chore means and how to actually do them. How to load the dishwasher right, and how to clean the mirrors without getting streaks, and that you need to put a liner in the trashcan after you take out the trash. At this stage kids think they need to get something for everything they do. I am not at all against bribery or rewards. Admit it, most adults feel this way too. So about a year or so ago we set up a system where the kids can earn rocks for every chore they get. They put them in a baby food size jar and when the jar is full they get a reward. I have a bag full of those little toys and gifts that go inside birthday bags that they can pick something out of there or they get to choose something different. Currently my kids are working on movie theatre tickets.

With this stage too they need to have set chores they are expected to do. Teaching them accountability is important to me. Their main chore that they have to do on their own is clean their room before they can play. Most days this works. But I do get days where they decide that they don't want to clean so they make the choice not to play either. It is their choice, but when it gets out of control because it has been too long then they don't get to do anything until their room is clean.

Now let's not forget that my oldest is almost 6. I don't know what is going to work best in the next stage because I haven't been there yet. Please any one that has older kids share what works best for you.

I am off to clean, off to sing songs with my youngest, bribe my older two and tackle the mess that this house has become. Yes, it still gets messy all the time. I am not perfect. I have way too many days that I like to be lazy and that I don't want to do it either. More on getting adults motivated later.


Holly | Reed Photographic said...

The card idea is great! I've never heard of that but I'm going to try it!

Jen said...

I also am a total believer in bribery. Really, would even adults do any work if there was no reward of some kind? That is what I do to get my kids to do chores. Mostly, they do things for video game time or play time with friends. We haven't gotten into money yet.

Ariane said...
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JulesandBriPoulson said...

Good ideas! You are such a great mom.We do the rock thing in a jar too, it works for sure. They loose rocks if they are naughty. Bribery is great.