Monday, 11 September 2017

Encouraging toddlers to help around the home

If you are home with young children then it doesn't take long before the house ends up in a mess. Sometime it's the regular cleaning that needs to be done regardless, and sometimes it's the extra work that goes along with having children - the clothes washing, washing up and just general tidying.

I think it's really important that children get involved with helping out around the house. Obviously their age will determine the sorts of jobs that they can help out with, and there are lots of lists about which give some suggested chores for each age group, for example this one - Age-Appropriate Chores.

So here are some of my tips:

* Equipment - There are lots of toy versions of cleaning equipment about. I've linked to a few that caught my eye at the bottom of this page (affiliate links). They can be fun for play, but it's also worth investing in a few child sized versions so that the children can actually use them to help. For example, this cleaning caddy (affiliate link) is filled with toy cleaning materials, but you could easily top it up with some bits and pieces of your own that the child can help with.

For example, I've always given mine a small spray bottle and a duster and they love squirting it about, even if I do often have to go back and clean up the excess water! They are also thrilled with the opportunity to have a go with a feather duster, I'm quite short so I have one with an extendable handle that they love using to reach cobwebs high up.

* Incentives and bribery - I've always found bribery to be an effective parenting model. But where possible I try to make the incentive something that we would have been doing anyway. So I might say we'll go to the playground, but only once the living room is tidy. Or if they help to put their plates in the dishwasher after the first course of a meal I'll get on with cutting up some fruit for dessert. As they get older though, often some pennies for their money box also works very well!

* Clearly defined storage - It's easier to get on with tidying if it's obvious where everything goes. We have lots of crates and boxes where toys of the same type can be put, then I can carry them back to the toy cupboard. It's much easier to keep things tidy if everything has a home. An important part of this is keeping on top of the number of toys with regular decluttering sessions. I've shared some tips on dealing with clutter in the home, and I do a regular review of the toys that we have about.

* Timers - Times are fun to make the tidying and cleaning into a game. You can say that the children have ten minutes to tidy the room. However I've found that my children can get a bit stressed by a timer, they don't like the pressure and it can cause more problems. So my other solution is:

* Put away a certain amount of items. I've been doing this for a long time, even back in the old pre-children days when my husband and I needed to tidy our flat! I'll set a number depending on the state of the house, and say 'right, before we can do such and such you need to put away ten things'. Each item has to be put away where it belongs. You do need to set a few rules, for example putting away all the Lego counts as one thing, rather than counting individual blocks. Sometimes the children are happy to keep going to see how many things they can put away.

I hope that you found these tips helpful!



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