I mentioned to a friend the other day how I was embarrassed to invite people over to the house, because of the state of it. She commented that I shouldn’t be worried about that – but she’s not seen the state of our sofa. It needs replacing but the OH won’t come to try them out in a shop so I’ve still not bought a new one. Friends at the moment are taken straight into the kitchen which thankfully in a farmhouse is the hub of the home. I’m really not a house proud person but sometimes you can be embarrassed without being obsessed about every spec of dust.
I’m not a cleaning fan, and I’ll clean when it needs doing, or if we’ve got people coming round. Being on a farm, as soon as I get rid of cobwebs they’re back again. Once I’ve vacuumed, you’d never know because the OH and N walk straw back into the house, or bits off their clothes from the farm get left behind in a trail.
I do want to get N to help out with household chores. As children we used to have to tidy our rooms, set the table, do the dusting, and the drying up (the days before dishwashers were the norm). Plus anything else that my mum asked at specific times.
N is meant to tidy his toys up each evening, and it would be nice if he’d put his plates and cups in the dishwasher instead of leaving them places. But he doesn’t have any specific chores. Mainly because it’s always easier just to get him to help when he fancies it. He loves vacuuming (badly), and helping chop vegetables and cook. He’ll help fold or hang up washing on the clothes horse. But it has to be when he wants to.
So how can I actually get him to help out when even the threat of screen time removal doesn’t work?
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Cleaning specialists Dr Beckmann, have pulled together 4 tips on how to get children involved around the house. “e all want to bring up children who are helpful and are capable ready for when they have families and houses of their own.
Tips on getting children to help round the house:
- Turn household chores into a game – race the clock or have a task spinner
- Use rewards – monetary, screen time or something else
- Have a boogie while cleaning – clean to favourite music (make it fast to make the cleaning go quicker)
- Dream team – use a rota and get children to switch round so they don’t get bored.
Our choice: rewards
While so many people say rewards aren’t the best for encouraging ongoing habits, they do work. As long as you can keep it consistent and pin point what makes your child tick, then turn the behaviours into habit.
Our rewards are based on N having different tasks to work on (for school we used rewards for reading without moaning, and doing some writing to help him make it more automatic and habitual). We include other things like doing the morning routine (pjs away, bed made, teeth cleaned), helping out around the house, turning the bathroom light off 5 times in a row etc. Once tasks become a habit – the bathroom light was a success – something else replaces it.
Once he’s completed a row of stickers, he gets a small token gift – Mashems work well, or anything that’s a surprise treat or lucky dip. For a full sheet being completed he gets to choose something like a farm tractor toy he wants.
There have been discussions about pocket money. Mainly because N has to learn that if he loses things, he’ll have to have to start paying out to replace things, or at least put money towards a replacement. But he pointed out he doesn’t get pocket money. So I think we’ll start giving pocket money on the basis that he’ll have to put away his toys each night and put plates etc away to get the basic allowance. Then any extra jobs he can do for extra cash. Although N didn’t like the idea of a contract, so we’ve not progressed it yet.
Chores that I’d expect a 7 year old to help with:
- Helping tidy up, tidying own toys and room
- Setting and clearing the table
- Helping fold own clothes
- Help empty the dishwasher (I leave filling it my way to me!)
- Putting clothes in the wash basket
- Helping weed and water plants
- Getting school things ready for the morning (this doesn’t happen yet, but I’ll be expecting it next school year)
- Helping peel vegetables and prepare food.
N will also wash vehicles out of choice – having a pressure washer on the farm helps. And he likes to help on the ride on mower. He also gets the odd bit of cash when he’s out helping on the farm sometimes. And if the vacuum is out, he’ll give that a go.
Next on the plan is to get our pocket money contact in place and agree the basic level of chores. And payment levels for different additional chores. Hopefully it’ll work and jobs won’t be seen as a chore!
You can find out more about Dr Beckmann’s tips on cleaning and removing stains on their website.
What chores do your children do? How do you persuade them to help out around the house?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Dr Beckmann
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