Our February PAC Newsletter is here and it includes an excellent article from Parent Education Instructor Kristin Church.

Helping Out Around the House

Author: Kristin Church

Our family is a bit of a madhouse: three awesome kids-all in sports, three jobs for the adults, two cats and a giant garden. I’ll admit, I was not great about encouraging (and expecting) my kids to help around the house until my youngest was born. It just became necessary at some point and I’m really glad we took the plunge to get all of our kids started on helping out around the house.

Whether you are just beginning  this journey of teaching personal responsibility to your children or you are looking for some fresh ideas, here are some tips to increase the “help” in helping around the house.

  • Everyone does their share. Each person in our family can help in their own way. This applies to kids 18 months and up.
  • Dividing a task into smaller steps and listing it out in a fun chant or with hand symbols for each step.
  • Think of some things that won’t matter either way if your kids do it well. For instance, washing down cabinets with spray bottles of water might need to be finished by a parent, but any initial scrubbing by your littlest ones is better than nothing. Or folding towels-letting children try that won’t increase your workload and you might find that towel folding is right in someone’s wheelhouse.
  • A set time when everyone does chores each week. Parents work alongside kids to take care of the house we all live in.
  • Choices: as kids have more chores and tasks they can do, they can choose the ones they enjoy.
  • Let your older children self-assess how well they complete a certain task. Provide your own feedback in a positive way.
  • Visual progress charts created by kids or filling up a mason jar with puff balls to reach a family reward (dance party, special park, hot chocolate at home)
  • Remind them of the benefit: more family time, spending money, a special task together
  • Experiment with completion techniques: try 5-10 minutes on a particular area each day or choose a larger chunk of cleaning but do it three times a week.

Finally, know that getting children to help out around the house takes more work at first but it quickly pays off. Be willing to scrap a plan that’s not working and try a new technique. Most of all, celebrate your children and the responsibility that they show by helping out at home.

Kristin Church
Parent Education Instructor
North Seattle College


For more, see our Newsletter Archive.