CHORES- WE ALL HAVE TO DO THEM!
Chores for kids. There is nothing wrong with everyone, kids included, helping out around the house. After all, everyone lives there! There is no reason why the responsibilites that go with a home need to fall on one or two people, even if you have small children. There are many things that kids can do, and not only does it help you somewhat, but it teaches them responsibility, and gives them a sense of pride also.
Start small and simple. Kids can help with easy tasks, like setting the table. Have the plates, cutlery (leave the sharp knives out of the picture until you know they are old enough to handle these), napkins, and cups set out for them to take to the dinner table. Salt and pepper shakers, as well as any condiments like ketchup, mustard, and salad
dressings can be retreived from the refrigerator with a little direction. They can also carry their plates after all meals to the counter top. Gradually, you can have them rinse these and put them into the dishwasher. If they snack after school, they can help put the snack makings away along with any plates they may use.
Help kids take pride in their bedrooms.
Most kids play in their rooms. Don't allow their rooms to turn into a room you see on "COPS"! There is no reason why they can't clean up after themselves if they are old enough to play independently. But make it easy on them. Bins are a great addition to kids' rooms. Try to label the bins or color-code the bins for toy organization. These can either be stacked in a corner of the bedroom, or stacked in the closet if there is room. Have bins for certain toys, so they aren't just throwing them anywhere to get them out of the way. Small bins can be put inside the larger bins to keep any small pieces from being lost. How often you wish them to straighten out the playing field is your call. Some parents don't mind a small mess during the week as long as there is a full clean up on the weekends. Other parents feel that it's easiest to have the kids "clean as they go", so as not to overwhelm them on the weekends.
Making the bed is always an issue. However, if we keep kids' beds simple (comforter or bedspread, maybe a blanket if it's cold, and a pillow), they can be taught how to pull the bed together. Lots of decorative pillows, which look beautiful, don't work well in kids' rooms. They usually end up on the floor or used as a weapon.
Dusting? Forget about this! This is a chore that most grown men don't do well (sorry, guys!), and for the time being, run the duster in their rooms for your own sanity. However, vacuuming is another chore kids can be taught to do, and usually they like this for some reason. Maybe it's the "vacuum marks" the vacuum cleaner leaves which makes the room look fresh. Maybe it's the sound of the dirt and dust being picked up, or just the sound of the vacuum. For whatever reason, most kids don't seem to mind this chore. Take advantage!
Let them help you sort their laundry. If you usually do all laundry together, set aside a day that you can show them with only their clothes exactly how this all works. Let them sort into color piles, add the soap, and start the washing machine. Then, let them load into the dryer and set the cycle for this also. After the drying is done, they can help stack their underpants, T-shirts, and roll/fold their socks. Eventually, this is something they can do unsupervised.
So now you are saying to yourself, "Easier said than done!" Well, you will learn that it is all in your approach. If your kids balk at chores and give you a hard time, you will have to reward (bribe!) them. This can be a challenge, but you will figure out what reward works best for your kids. Here are some possibilities which you may want to consider, and make sure they understand that this is because they have been doing a great job:
Let them stay up 15 minutes longer at bedtime, if your kids hate to go to bed. On weekends, let them stay up an additional half hour.
Let them have a friend or a few friends over when you don't normally let them have friends over.
Take them to a movie or another special place they enjoy.
Make their "favorite" dinner once a week.
Give them more TV time or more internet access time.
Let them help you make a special dessert of their choice.
Accumulate points. When they have earned a set number of points, they can cash this in on something they have wanted but haven't been able to afford or talk you into.
The possibilities are endless. However, they must understand that they need to complete the task/chore you have requested, and do it with regularity. You shouldn't have to constantly remind them, either. Also make it clear to them that they need to earn their "reward". If you feel a chart will help them with knowing what they need to do and when, then construct a simple chart with the days of the week, and let them check this. A reward schedule can be set at your disgression. Whether you want to reward them once a week or a couple of times a week is your call, depending on what you are asking them to take responsibility for.
The going may be tough at first, but in the end, you will be glad you have not only taught your kids how to take responsibility, but you will have eased your workload somewhat also. If you start this when your kids are young enough, you will not only have less work to do, but your kids will grow up with organization and structure in their lives!
Chores - Kids hate 'em