Since I just shared about how I have used Motivated Moms to help me keep my house in order and also recently blogged about how Gesserine does not get allowance for doing her chores, I thought today I would share some tips on how we motivate Gess to actually get her chores done.
First of all we started training her at an early age that she was expected to clean up her own mess. Singing songs can sometimes make it seem like play. "Now it's time to clean up, clean up, clean up. Now its time to clean up and put away our toys." Or "Gesserine is a helper. Gesserine is a helper. Gesserine puts away her toys. Gesserine is a helper."
As Gess has gotten older, she has gotten more responsibility and we have had to come up with new ways to motivate her to do her chores. While we can't always make chores fun, we can help to make them a positive experience. Below are a few of the ways we do that.
1. Have a great attitude. If you hate chores, so will your kids. But if you choose to have a good attitude and present chore time in a positive way, most of the time the kids will be positive as well. (This approach will take some time if you and/or your children already have a negative attitude.) If you concentrate on the fact that you are blessed to have a house to clean and a family who loves you that should certainly help your own attitude as you clean it.
2. Do chores together. Did you ever have a job where you felt like you did more work than your boss? It can be so frustrating to think that you are working hard while your boss is sitting at their desk doing nothing. (Not that your boss is doing nothing, it just feels that way.) That perception can lead to resentment in the work place. Well this is also true for kids at home. Who wants to do dishes while mom sits and goofs off on Facebook? Sure you have been working ALL day and deserve a break but can't that break come after everyone's chores are done, including yours? Gess and I often do our chores together. Sometimes I make my bed and she makes hers but sometimes we help each other do both. Some days she does dishes and some days I do them but some days we do them together. Its always more fun doing work with someone, or at least while they are doing it too. Of course there will be times they have to work alone and get over the fact that you are not working too. But making it a point to work together at least part of the time can help.
3. Have moments in the day especially for chores. Chores are on our school schedule but even in the summer they get done. I will warn Gess that we will be doing chores at a certain time. That way if she is in a game, reading a book or building something with her Legos she already knows she will have to stop. Then we all do our chores at that time. On Saturday when daddy is home we have what we call a "pick up" where we all go around and straighten up what needs to be done. This way, even daddy is in on the chores and she sees that we all work together. It is much more fun for Gess to help daddy make the bed because she doesn't get to do that everyday! It's also good for kids to see that men can and should do some house work too.
4. Put on some music. I really enjoy doing chores listening to something. While I often listen to the news or talk radio, that really annoys Gess so we listen to music when she is helping. I have done that so much she often requests it when doing dishes. Throwing on some praise and worship tunes will also help keep your attitude joyful.
5. Thank them for their efforts. While they should not receive a tangible reward for doing something that is just part of life, its always a good thing to praise and thank those who put forth an effort to make your home comfortable. My husband will often thank me for cooking dinner (even if its just hotdogs) and will sometimes mention how nice the house looks when he comes home. Knowing he really cares and appreciates it motivates me to make sure it is done before he walks in the door. While it will make them feel good about their work now it will really benefit your child's future relationships when they build a habit of saying thank you for the little things!
These are just a few things we do at our house to share the load. The key is to keep your focus on why you are doing something rather than just on what you are doing. What better way to do that then together as a family?