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How to get your kids to help.

I get a lot of questions asking me about how I get my kids to be so helpful around the home. The four of them do a lot around the house, in fact, I’d go so far as to say that I couldn’t do what I do without them. They feed and clean the animals, they sort their laundry and they clean most of the house too. Any time I have a job that needs doing that is easier with more than one pair of hands, from emptying the dishwasher, to pulling ragwort in the field, I know that I

can call on them and they will help.

It wasn’t always like this though! They didn’t arrive wielding dusters and willing to help and it has taken a considerable amount of time and effort to get to this point. Time and effort that has been paid back in spades. It is so easy to just think, “Oh it’ll be quicker to do that myself!”, or “Give it here, you’re not doing it properly!”, but if this is you, then you are shooting yourself in the foot. What do I teach my children if I do jobs for them that they can do for themselves? Simply that I am better at doing the jobs and they end up with a learned helplessness.

So just how do you go about getting day to day help in and around the home? First, I recommend that you completely declutter and organise your home, starting with your own journey, I have written extensively about this already here. Also, help them to get their things organised as a starting point – blogs on that here, here and here.

1. Clearly define (for you and for them) what it is that you want to happen.

2. Break this down into steps.

3. Teach them how to do these steps.

4. Teach them again (and possibly again!)

5. Set a clear time for this to happen within.

6. Celebrate when it is done.

For example, I need the bathroom cleaning. What steps have to be done in order to make it clean?

1. Spray the bath, shower, sink and toilet with cleaner.

2. Put toilet cleaner in toilet.

3. Wipe down surfaces using appropriate cloths (Blue for Loo, Pink for Sink)

4. Scrub the inside of the toilet with the brush.

5. Hoover the bathroom (yes, we have carpet, don’t ask).

6. Put the equipment away.

Clear time to do this is on Monday afternoons when we are all cleaning the house. Afterwards Hi Five for a job well done.

This applies to literally everything we do. I make sure the children know exactly what it is they have to do and that they have the tools to do it (both mental and physical). I always check and celebrate after. I don’t pay my kids to help around the house, but it is expected that they have done all of their jobs before they get their tech out in the afternoon.

I would also say to watch your language when you're getting things done. Early on in my teaching career, I learned that, "It's time for Maths" was always greeted more positively than, "Shall we do Maths?". It is exactly the same with, "It's time to clean" or even, "When are you going to do your cleaning?" rather than, "Are you ready/going to clean?".

If you need more help getting these things sorted, then give us a call. I do coach families with this as well as my decluttering – there is only so much that I can explain in a 600 word blog!


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