I LOVE it when my daughters teach me important lessons or remind me of lessons I have previously learned, but somehow “forgotten” as I go about my daily routine. The photos I have included in this blog are visual representations of the lesson my older daughter reminded me of this week: Chores should be fun!
My oldest is in charge of dishes in the evening, which usually involves loading our dishwasher and washing a few random items by hand. My partner or I will often unload the dishwasher after it has run its cycle. A few nights ago when my partner went to unload the dishwasher – she found something a bit unexpected. All of our utensils were organized in the dishwasher by color. Our first reaction was, “Hmmm, do you think our daughter may have a slight tendency towards OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)? We laughed at this question and responded with, “Well, if that is what it takes to get her to do the dishes consistently, we are happy!”
The next day I asked my daughter why the utensils had been divided by colors. She answered me, “Mom, I have to do something to make dishwashing fun. This makes it fun.” Wow, thank you so much! I get it and I am so sorry that I had forgotten this incredible lesson. When parents are able to help children make chores fun then children are much more likely to be active, willing participants in the process.
There are many ways we can make chores fun for our kids:
1. Make chores into a race – encouraging your children to complete a specific task in a limited amount of time.
2. Make chores creative – ask them to make their bed in the most decorative way possible – or in “princess” or “pirate” style – ask them to set up their dolls on the bed as though they were heading to a disco.
3. Give voices to the cleaning supplies, germs, etc. I love pretending to be a germ that my daughters are killing as they spray disinfectant on our counters – they laugh a lot!
4. Sing with your children as you are doing chores.
5. Set up a reward system – in our home we use marbles. My girls earn a base of one marble a day and can increase or decrease depending on their performance/ attitude/ etc. on any given day. My girls have earned, bicycles, Kindles, etc. At the moment one is saving for a bicycle while the other is working on an iPod. This is a great way to motive them.
6. Praise your children for their effort, even when the job may not be what you wanted/ expected – getting them in the habit of enjoying working around the home and being grateful for the acknowledgment/ appreciation.
Today, 43 days ’til 40, I am thankful that my daughter reminded me how critical it is to but the fun back into chores!