5 Ways to Make Chores EXCITING!
Preschoolers and a clean house. They go together about as well as fire and ice. I often feel like I'm trying to fill a china cabinet during an earthquake. To tell the truth, it gets a bit frustrating. And if you have toddlers or have ever had toddlers, you know how I feel.
But your little ones don't always have to work against you. Most of the time, they probably still will be, but if you have them helping you move in the right direction some of the time, it really helps.
I've seen the normal lists of child appropriate chores, but let's be honest...they're bo-ring. So how do you make them fun? You get creative!! Here are 5 ideas we use around our house to get the girls excited about helping.
1. Timers and treats! Picture this...the living room floor is COVERED with stuff. Girl stuff, Mommy stuff, Daddy stuff. Looking at it, you'd estimate it'll take you a good 30 minutes just to pick it all up. But with help, you could have success in 10. Except for the fact that the girls move like ssssssnnnnnnaaaaaaiiiiiiillllllllllsssss... At this rate, it would be faster to get them OUT of the way and do it yourself. So here's what we do when a clean up time isn't working out so well.
"Okay girls, Mommy is setting a timer. Whoever works HARD and FAST until the timer goes off gets a treat!!"
2. Use the whitewash fence strategy. Remember the story from Tom Sawyer about how Tom wouldn't let the other boys paint the fence unless they paid him to do it? Well, no, I don't make my girls pay me to do things. But I DO make them think that what I'm doing is SUPER fun! H. loves to vacuum. M. does too...with her own little popcorn vacuum. But why does she love to vacuum? Because I make it look so fun! I chase them with the vacuum. I sing and dance while I vacuum. And I don't let them have a vacuum of "their own" until they're old enough. No, this doesn't work with everything because frankly, I can't look happy while doing dishes. I've tried. I can't do it.
3. Make it special. H. loves playing in the water. So...she's in charge of plant watering. You can see from the picture in this post that it's been neglected, but if I remind her, it's a chore she loves doing because she gets to fill a little cup with water, carry it around the house, and dump it on the plants. What could be more fun?? How about climbing on chairs? Oh yeah. She gets to do that too for the plants out of reach! These are things she isn't normally "allowed" to do. Playing in the sink and climbing on chairs are no-no's, but they're both allowed for this chore.
Another thing she LOVES doing is spraying from a spray bottle. So...I give her a spray bottle full of water and a rag and let her spray things and wipe them off. Fun, fun, fun! And she's cleaning my house! Plus, there's the added benefit that if she's walking around with a rag and spray bottle, she's not pulling books off the shelf, toys out of the drawer, or clothes out of the closet.
5. Let them know they're needed. A friend of mine told me that her mom was shocked at how much she was able to get done with her small children around. She responded by telling her mom that she needed them. She couldn't do all she did without their help.
I love this photo. It reminds me that in most cultures, children are relied upon to be productive members of them family at an early age. Why is it in America, we seem to feel that our children are entitled to lives free of work? Perhaps that is why our society is such a mess. Children need to feel that they are a blessing, not a burden.