I’ve had a major revelation recently about how to get my daughter to do more to help out at home.
She is seven and a half and for a while now we’ve had a chore chart going in an effort to get her to be more consistent about doing a few things to help. Nothing too crazy: Put away the dishes after dinner, make her bed in the morning, check her backpack for school, sweet the kitchen floor, feed her fish, etc. She is not terrible about remembering but I do have to reminder her, a lot.
The other day I wasn’t feeling well so I plunked down on the couch and said to my daughter, half kidding: “Could you please go and make me some tea and a snack?”. She has never done this and I wouldn’t trust her with the hot tea, but as soon as I said it she got really excited and ran to the kitchen. My husband was there and she asked him to help her get the tea ready and figure out what snack I might want. They came out and brought me some tea, cut up apples and some cheese on a tray. I kissed her and told her it was the best snack ever and she was so excited.
A few hours later I was in the kitchen finishing up making dinner and she came over and asked me: “Mama, do you want me to make you more tea?” I told her sure, so she went and got my husband, and they repeated the routine from before (she pressed the electric kettle button, he poured, she timed three minutes on the clock for the tea to steep). The next day she asked me again. And it’s now become a regular things she asks me and I don’t know which one of us likes it more.
So here is my revelation about how to get your kids to help out more:
Ask them to do something for you.
Sure, I’d love it if my kiddo was really into vacuuming (NOT my favorite thing to do), but I love that she enjoys making a snack for me because she sees how happy it makes me. I recently read an article in the New York Times about a mom who asked her sons to make dinner once a week. To her and her husband’s surprise they really got into it and made pretty good food. And I think it was partly because they liked doing something creative (cooking) and they loved seeing how awesome they made their parents feel.
I’m not suggesting you make your kids serve your every wish (although, sometimes it would be nice). But I do think that when they see that doing something makes you happy, that they can do something for you and make you happy, they are much more likely to get into it.
What about you, what have you found helps your kids get more excited about helping around the house?