Wondering how to get family to help with chores? This is the first of a series of articles about how to raise a helper. Use these positive parenting tips to raise an independent and intrinsically motivated child that doesn’t mind helping with the chores, and other household duties.
Make it easy on yourself with these simple tips for raising independent kids who WANT to help with chores!
Learn how to get kids to help with household chores, gardening, yard work, and other household duties with these simple positive parenting tips.
Related: 15 Ways to Raise a Helper
How to Raise Internally Motivated Children That Help with Chores
One morning, I was in the kitchen doing the dishes when my 3-year-old daughter burst in to grab the stepping stool and ran out the back door.
I watched her struggle to open it as I continued to spy on her out the kitchen window, and wondered what she was up to.
When she ran off and came back with her cleaning kit. I smiled silently to myself as I excitedly realized, “Oh my goodness… she’s going to wash the windows!”
I continued to secretly watch her out the kitchen window as she pulled the stepping stool up to the back door, climbed up, and began cleaning.
I was in shock for a moment until I realized that this was perfectly normal.
This is what happens when you raise an intrinsically motivated helper that likes to help with household chores!
Our daughter watering the raspberries at 18 months old.
How to Get Kids to Help with Household Chores
Everyone wants to raise children that help out around the house, but how do you raise children that actually spend time helping with the chores?
The most important thing you can do to raise a helper that will help with chores is to allow your child to watch you work and help.
Yup… it’s really that simple!
Okay… maybe simple was the wrong word.
Modeling how work should be done and assisting your child can be tough. Sometimes it can even be painful.
Or is that just me?
I know it’s much easier to do all of the household chores yourself when they are young. Please don’t.
You will be doing yourself (and your child) a grave disservice in the long run if you don’t allow them to help with chores when they are young.
Helping is Inborn, Let Them!
Children are natural imitators. They learn everything by watching us. This is why it is so important to allow them to watch you working and doing chores from the time that they are born.
When we tell kids to leave us alone when we are doing a chore we teach them that they aren’t good enough to help. We also teach them that they don’t need to help and that we will do everything for them.
Worst of all, we don’t give them the chance to learn by watching us.
Is it any wonder that when we want them to help with the household chores they don’t know how, and, no longer want to?
Personally, I’d rather suffer through the early years of allowing children to help with chores than to suffer from them not helping with the chores at all.
I know that allowing kids to help with chores is more of a hindrance at first.
Trust me when I tell you that those elongated moments of helping them help you don’t last. It gets easier, and then they actually start helping with the chores!
Our daughter helping her grandma paint a wall.
Chores for Kids: Encouraging Your Helping Hand
One of our primary duties as parents is to care for our children until they can learn to take care of themselves.
This means that we are responsible for teaching our children how to take care of themselves–household chores and all.
It does not mean that we are in charge of doing everything for our children forever–could you imagine!
If we don’t teach our kids how to take care of themselves and help out around the house, they will still need us to do everything for them.
This is why it is so important to encourage, invite and allow our children to help with household chores from the moment that they start toddling about.
Related: Outdoor Activities for Kids
How to Create a Habit of Helping with the Chores
Encouraging, inviting, and allowing our children to help with chores is the best way to both teach our children how to take care of themselves, and get kids motivated to help out around the house.
When children start helping with the chores at a young age it can easily become a lifelong habit for them.
A habit is something that is done or practiced regularly. Once something becomes a habit it becomes hard to give up.
Don’t you want your children to have the habit of helping with the chores?
I sure do… When chores become a family habit life gets a lot easier for everyone in the household!
This is a photo taken of the moment I decided to put down the dishes, turn off the water, grab the camera, and run out the front door and around the back to sneak up to snap a picture. I did not stage this photo, ask her to clean the windows or fix her hair. This is what happens when you raise an internally motivated helper!
Kids Helping with Chores
Our daughter has been around us working and helping with the chores since she was a baby.
She has been getting in the way and trying to help us, if you could call it that, since the moment she could walk just like every other toddler out there.
Instead of turning her away, we have done our best to encourage, invite, and allow her to watch and help with chores and household DIY projects.
No, it hasn’t been all butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes I wish I could just do it myself, but here’s the thing.
We want our daughter to feel that she is good enough to help. We also want to encourage her efforts so she will repeat them in the future and continue to help with chores throughout her lifetime.
Instead of finding something else for her to do (like I’ve wanted to a hundred times), I do my best to ask her to do simple things to help with household chores.
This means that most chores will take longer to do.
It also means that your children will make mistakes, but so will we as parents. Mistakes are how we learn to do better the next time.
As parents, we not only model how to do household chores and other home life skills. We also provide an example of how to recover and move on when we make mistakes–especially when we get upset.
There are pictures of our little girl helping with chores and DIY projects all over this website!
Some of the best photos of kids helping with chores, along with more tips for raising intrinsically motivated children, can be found listed below:
- 15 Ways to Raise a Helper
- DIY Chemical Free Cleaning Kit for Kids
- Tools for Raising Helpers
- DIY Outdoor Chalkboard
- How to Make a Fairy Garden
- DIY Outdoor Art Table & Mud Kitchen
- Planting Spring Flowers
- How to Plant a Tree (photo below)
How to Raise Kids that Enjoy Helping with the Chores
Young children love to feel useful and want to help around the house. Allowing them to help, even when it makes it harder for us, encourages this aspect of their nature.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
If You Liked How to Get Family to Help with the Chores, You May Also Like
- DIY Chemical-Free Cleaning Kit for Kids
- Best Parenting Books
- Teach Kids to Use Good Manners the Easy Way
- Positive Discipline Books for Parents and Educators
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…