Parenting Vivian | 31 Jan 2010 03:17 am

Techniques to Get Kids to Work at Home

It is not always easy to combine fun and work, but it is possible. The goal of family relationships should be one of mutual respect and cooperation. The sooner the chores are done, the sooner you can go have fun. Or, if you use the techniques and ideas listed below, you can do both at the same time.

These fun ideas have been tested by families just like yours and mine and they work! So use your teaching and problem solving skills to think of new ways to get your kids to help at home.

Hidden Treasure-When you have an area that needs a thorough cleaning job, announce that you have hidden a treasure box that contains enough money for pizza and a movie, for the entire family. The lucky finder a special treat. The entire family cleans and searches together.

Hide smaller sums of money around an area that needs cleaned. You’d be surprised how clean bookshelves can get when quarters are hidden under the books. (Tip: Remember how much you hid-we’re still finding coins in the washroom)

Cinderella-Either one special person or the entire family works like scullery maids until a specified hour. Then work ceases, cloths changed, and off you go to the ball (ie movie, dinner, play, etc.).

Ten Minute Break-Take a ten-minute break from deep cleaning. Have a snack, play a quick game of tag, or other activity to break the monotony.

Divide and Conquer-Divide a task into manageable parts, and then give the child a white marble for every part he finishes. When he has twelve marbles, both of you take a break and play Chinese Checkers.

Better on the Bottom-Encourage your child to put his laundry away promptly by putting a note under it, redeemable for a surprise. Be sure to include an expiration date and don’t mention it-see how long it takes to be redeemed.

Yard Party-Have a green thumb party where everyone works in the yard. Give everyone one of those obnoxious green thumb suckers with bubble gum in the middle to suck on while they work. Serve green popsicles and green punch when the work is done.

Birthday Bonus-No one works on his birthday. Everybody else pitches in and gives a “service gift” by doing his chores on his birthday.

Be-Bop-A-Do-A song on the radio usually lasts about three minutes. Challenge the kids to have the living room picked up before the next song ends. This is more fun, and it eliminates dawdling.

Nudging Notes-If your child has been puttering around in his room forever getting ready to clean, rather than yell, write a note and slip it under the door. Have it say something like, “If your room is clean and you are dressed by 2 p.m., meet me in the car and we’ll go get a milkshake.” (Tip: Be sure to knock as you slip the note under the door-when I used this idea with my daughter, I didn’t knock, and she didn’t find the note till 10 a.m. next day).

Job Chart-Post a job schedule for the week on the refrigerator door. You’ll get much more cooperation and support when there is a visible reminder that doing housework is a family project.

(c) Judy H. Wright,

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