We’re all guilty of doing things for our children because it’s easier. But by doing so we give more jobs to ourselves and make the kids useless! Here is our list of top ten things they can do for you.
Even when they’re small, children can make their own bed when they get up. Then teach older kids how to change sheets and pillowcases ready for washing
Get shoes with Velcro fastenings so you don’t have to do it for them. Then show them how to tie laces and do up buckles when they’re older. It’ll save heaps of time getting ready to go out.
After school, praise your children for unpacking their lunchboxes and changing out of school uniforms as soon as they get home. It’ll avoid them chucking their stuff everywhere by the time they’re teenagers.
All children are capable of laying the table, and putting dirty dishes in the kitchen afterwards. Encourage minimal mess by getting them to wipe up crumbs and spillages themselves.
Craft activities can leave a trail of paper cuttings, glitter and wrappers. Get them to wipe up spilt paint and water, and put away brushes and paints. Let them use the nozzle of the vacuum to hoover their own mess. They’ll soon reduce the amount they spill, too!
Mum the porter
Carrying their bags is not a part of parenting. Within reason, make them carry their own belongings. Sometimes they’ll need help with PE kits and the like – but it’ll discourage them from bringing random items out for the day for you to lug around.
Teach your children what goes in which bin and about recycling. You’ll be educating them about taking care of the planet. Plus it’ll save you clearing up all their rubbish from party bags, presents and food wrappers.
There’s loads that children can do in the kitchen – from chopping mushrooms and grating cheese, to stirring mixtures and learning to weigh and measure. Even toddlers can have a go at buttering bread. Give them opportunities to make sandwiches, wash fruit and fill drinks bottles for school lunches. Fussy eaters are much more likely to eat what they’ve chosen and made, too.
Get a drawer unit that can hold a decent amount of toys, and label it up. If toys are kept in sections children generally play with them one section at a time. Teach them where toys go, so ‘tidy up time’ means toys genuinely go away where they belong. They’ll be more appealing to play with next time, too.
Get children to put underwear in laundry bags and sort dirty clothes in relevant sections of the laundry basket. It’ll make it easier to load the washing machine, while sparing you having to constantly pick up worn clothes off the floor.
So involve your children and let them help out. It’s empowering for them too. They’ll enjoy having the independence and you can give them more responsibility as they get older. It’ll make them feel a useful part of the family with their own role to play.
If you have older kids in the family, check out our guide on how to get teenagers to help out.
Do you have any tips on how to get kids to help with chores? We’d love to hear how you do it! Send your tips to [email protected] with ‘Tips for chores’ in the subject.