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Posts Tagged ‘Helping with chores’

Get Your Kids to Spring Clean With You

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It’s springtime, and many of us will be taking on spring cleaning tasks like washing the windows or deep cleaning our kitchen appliances. Many spring cleaning tasks involve heavy lifting and require stronger cleaning solutions than we use for our day-to-day chores, making them less than ideal for kids to help with. But there are some tasks that are suited to doing with your children, should you want to get them involved in your spring cleaning routine.

We take spring cleaning very seriously at Lifehacker. Far be it from us to let an opportunity to refresh, reorganize, and declutter our homes lives pass us by. We’re also pretty psyched to hit the reset button on our tech usage, take a close look at our finances, and give the heave-ho to the day-to-day habits that have gotten a little musty. Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week, wherein we clear the cobwebs of winter and set the stage for sunny days ahead. Let’s clean things up, shall we?

A few general tips to consider: First, take the time to clearly explain and/or demonstrate the task ahead. Sure, it will add a little time to the process, but it will also help them learn, and save you from having to do their work over. Speaking of doing the work over: Try to avoid that if you can so you don’t inadvertently send a message that their best wasn’t good enough. It’s also a great idea to get them dressed for the job at hand—have them wear old or sturdy clothes that you won’t mind getting dirty. And, of course, you’ll want to take into account the age and skill level of your child, as well as any other concerns like allergies or respiratory problems that may make it less than ideal for them to participate in a given task.

Washing the Car

It’s my personal opinion that washing a car is one of the most fun chores around and when the weather turns, it’s a great job to get the kids involved in.

Start with the interior and have them help sort through any trash and recycling that are cluttering up the car, take out any stuff like toys or a stray sneaker or books that need to be returned to their rightful home. Then, have the kids use a handheld vacuum to vacuum the seats and floors.

Once the interior is clean, the real fun can begin! Washing a car’s exterior isn’t rocket science, but there are a few best practices to know: Work from the top down; wash and dry the car in sections so that soap and water residue doesn’t dry onto the car as you work, leaving sudsy residue and water spots; use car wash soap instead of dish soap, which can dull the car’s clear coat.

Dusting Baseboards

The great thing about turning kids loose on the baseboards is that they’re already low to the ground anyway! Plus, dusting baseboards requires nothing more than microfiber, like this dusting cloth from Casabella, which makes it perfect for kids—no harsh chemical products, no sloshing buckets of cleaning solution, just a rag and some crawling action are all that’s required.

Vacuuming Furniture

You can add a little extra fun to this chore by letting your kid keep any change they find hidden in the cushions. The job is easy and can/should certainly involve making a pillow fort out of couch and chair cushions, decorative pillows and throw blankets as you take them off the frame of the furniture. Then, put the upholstery or crevice attachment on the vacuum for your kids and have them do the honors, starting with vacuuming the frame, then giving the cushions and pillows a good THWAMPING to redistribute stuffing and knock out dust. Then, replace the cushions and vacuum them as well. Finally, launder blankets and throw pillows if needed.

Doorknobs and Lightswitch Plates

This is an easy little task that only a rag or paper towels and a small amount of a gentle all-purpose cleaner: Have kids wipe off doorknobs and light switch plates—which, by dint of being touched all the time, get quite grimey and germy—going room by room. You can divvy it up by room or give one kid doorknob duty and another light switch duty and have them count to see which one you have more of in your home, to make it a little bit more game-like.

Cleaning and Organizing a Bookshelf

Bookshelves, like baseboards, get quite dusty but deep cleaning really only requires a good microfiber cloth, making it a good task for kids to help with. Remove all the books and knick-knacks from shelves and work from the top down, since dust will travel south as you clean. Smaller kids can be tasked with wiping books off while taller kids can work on the bookcase itself. Then, have the kids pitch in with putting everything away by having them organize books by color, or alphabetically by author.

Washing Trash Cans

Trash cans and recycling bins get super dirty, even if you’re diligent about always using liners. While you don’t need to clean them regularly, it’s not a bad idea to wash them out once or twice a year, and it’s a great job to do outside on a nice day. Much like washing a car, it can be a lot of fun for kids to splash around with a bucket of sudsy water and/or a hose. A large car washing sponge, dish soap, water and a rag for drying are really all that’s needed for the job, and you can have the kids start by finding all the trash cans and recycling bins in the house, emptying them if they’re full, then bringing them all outside to be washed. Once they’re clean, dry them using a rag (an old bath towel would be perfect here) and have the kids bring them back inside to be put away.

 

This article was written by shared by Jolie Kerr to Lifehacker and Jolie Kerr on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Summer is Upon Us

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The kids are out of school – now what? Summer camp, summer school, amusement parks, sleep ins, sleep overs, party, pow wows at the park, extended weekends, family reunion, vacation, family time… But what about those chores? The ones that you hardly have time to complete all on your own. The ones that you’ve been hanging onto since the first day of Spring.

Growing up for me, a country girl- Alabama, chores were apart of a daily routine. They didn’t just happen during the 3-month summer vacation from school. They weren’t assigned as a weekend only type deal. There was work to be done, every single day of the week. Our chores may have increased on the weekend and during the summer, but days were never absent or short of the responsibility to complete chores.

From raking the leaves in the front and backyard, to vacuuming the house, polishing silver, Windex the glass, washing dishes, mopping the floor, putting away the dishes, dusting the furniture, cleaning our rooms, doing the laundry and helping in any other way around the house. Sometimes that meant rearranging furniture with my OCD dad.

Doing chores almost super exceeded extra curricular activities outside of the house. The responsibility of doing chores, topped the “most important thing to do in the Kenny household’, list. Nice and tidy. My mother and father ran a tight ship. Dad with his strict set of rules sometimes leaked over into just how perfectly the bed had to be made- a chore in and within itself.

There was never anything in place to make these chores fun. And as a rule of thumb, the values that were impressed upon us came with understanding a chore, as responsibility and no rewards are given or to be expected, for doing what you are supposed to do anyway.

While that idea has stained itself on my way of parenting, I have decided to add some spice to the value; without loosing the flavor. Meaning, I do think it’s ok to reward good behavior … And I do think you can still maintain the value in the lesson of doing what’s required, without expecting rewards. And because I think most people do a better job at anything, when they feel appreciated.

Here are a few things to consider, that I’ve personally improved the chore system, to make it something fun, while rewarding and teaching. Wax on… Wax off…. (Some of you know exactly where that comes from) and that’s why I know now, that doing my chores as a child, was not all for nothing. “First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule Daniel son, not mine” Mr Miyagi

Competition — Make it a race. A fun- Family-friendly, race. One that encourages friendly camaraderie.

They have to do the chore anyway- bottom line. So how about a lesson within the responsibility. How about, maximize the learning opportunity by introducing concepts. Concepts of winning, loosing, completion, efficiency, accuracy, effectiveness. Inspections after the chore can determine this and if can be rated on a star scale. If you have more than one child, you can assign responsibilities that are age appropriate and place them in in a track bracket. Who can make it to the 100-yard finish line?

In implementing this competitive route to doing chores, I think it teaches perspective team work, creative ways of doing things, allowing them to maneuver through the task and find what works best. I think it helps them to develop the right attitude and perspective on handling assignments that will be competitive assigned to later; without being sore losers or overly aggressive obnoxious winners.

(Keep the discussion of wins, loose or draw, nearby. So that your child doesn’t feel like they are a looser and so that they won’t misunderstand the benefit of the lessons). “It’s ok to lose to opponent. It’s never okay to lose to fear” Mr Miyagi

One mom said, “there are no losers” and while I agree when it comes to children, we can’t extract that from the fact that there are times in life where they will not finish first. There are times where it’s going to be very clear that the best is who will be chosen. We cannot ignore that, out of the fear that we are teaching our children to compete. Stay with me on this.

Goal markers (100 yard line markers) (3 point basketball shots) (point system) how many points do they need for 10$ to go to the movies on Friday (teenager) how many points to go to get ice cream on Saturday (toddler) you’re taking them for ice cream anyway and you are also giving your teenager money for movies anyway… Why not make them earn it?

Make it a board game like monopoly – replacing the monopoly spaces with places your child of teenager wants to go, or with things they want or with things that you want your child to do. Don’t sleep on books. Books are rewards too. Dinner certificates, Gift certificates, amazon gift certificates for teenager or even smaller children, mani pedi for girls, spa day, golf lessons, track sessions, gift bags, swag bags, gift sets with educational material. The list goes on.

I’ve placed things like (get out of jail free) if you make it there from performing chores, then you may have an extra hour on curfew or an extra $10 to go out Friday or a ticket to a ball game etc. big and small items can go on the board and it can be customized to your pocketbook. Creative things that cost nothing can be placed on the board. Prizes -small and creative. Allowance- incentive -Rewards- (movie, outdoor activity of child’s choice, healthy cupcake etc. Praise – make sure to congratulate and uplift them, by telling how important it was. Assigning chores, gives responsibility and the act of successfully completing it makes them feel great!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

This article was written by Niedria D. Kenny from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How to Make Chores Fun

When you’re a busy parent coming home from the workday and continuing your second job of being a parent, simple household chores can take up valuable time and can become aggravating.

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Lessen your stress by teaching responsibility to your little ones. Encouraging your children to contribute to small tasks around the house will not only help them develop gross motor skills and responsibility, but it will also provide extra time for you as a parent to bond with your children by playing a game or reading a book.

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  1. Call their help something other than chores. Emphasize that your child will be helping with daily tasks. Children may feel happier about completing their task if they are helping.
  2. Create a Mommy’s and Daddy’s Helper chart. Children will be anxious to check off their task of the day; it will entice them to complete it
  3. Add a sticker each time your child completes an assigned task. Offer your child a special prize for obtaining a certain number of stickers. Prizes can be one of the following:
    • Having an extra 30 minutes of screen time;
    • Choosing the family dinner for a night;
    • Picking the game for family game night.

Five Ways to Encourage Children to Help with Chores

Motivating children to help out around the house can be challenging. Here are five ways to encourage them to lend a hand.

  1. Start your child young. Ask your child to help out as soon as she is able to. Making chores a normal part of home life as early as possible can foster helpful behavior.
  2. Keep tasks small. Break up larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, instead of asking your child to help clear the table, ask him to bring each plate over to the sink. Remember to keep each task age appropriate.
  3. Establish a routine. Being consistent can help your child adjust to assisting you with household duties. If you make helping out a regular part of your child’s routine, then she is more likely to do her chores without being asked.
  4. Offer praise. Phrases like “good job” and “you’re so helpful” can be excellent motivators. Try saying, “I can never fold the towels as nicely as you do,” which can make your child feel important and needed. This may inspire him to make it his mission to fold the towels.
  5. Make chores fun. Have a contest to see who can dust the shelves the fastest or who can dry more dishes. You could also put on music and dance around while you clean. The key is to make work enjoyable.

Planning and Organizing – Critical Thinking Skills

Some children are naturally organized, but messy children can learn organization skills. Whether The Goddard Schoolyour children are messy or neat, the executive function skills of planning and organizing will help them accomplish goals, complete tasks at school and enjoy success in life.

You can help your children develop their abilities to plan and organize. Below are a few tips to get you started.

  • Conduct weekly family meetings and discuss your family’s schedule, upcoming events and goals. Let your children help with the planning. You can hold these meetings during meals;
  • Keep a family calendar visible. Use it every day so your child becomes accustomed to the household schedules and routines;
  • Teach your child how to break down tasks. For example, when he is cleaning up his toys, ask your child to put all the dinosaurs away, then all the trucks, etc.;
  • Make a chore chart and have everyone in the family mark off jobs as they complete them;
  • Talk about events, such as trips and errands, before they happen. Before you go to the grocery store, make a shopping list with your children. At the store, ask them to help you collect the items;
  • Read stories together and talk about what happened first, next and last;
  • Play games that involve following directions and rules.

Make planning and organizing fun for your child and some of your child’s skills may rub off on you!

Chores & Role-Playing

Children, even as young as toddlers, just love to role play. Letting them help out with chores provides valuable life lessons about teamwork, family, responsibility and accountability.

To grown-ups, these are some of the daily tasks that just have to get done. However, to a child, it’s a chance to role-play or imitate grown-ups. Children who participate in family activities at a young age may even feel an added sense of accomplishment, greater self-confidence and greater sense of value within their family.

Here are a few ideas for including your child (while supervised and/or as developmentally appropriate) in daily chores:

  • Matching socks—also great for learning colors, comparing, etc.!
  • Carrying in the mail (add an occasional letter or postcard for your child for extra fun)
  • Setting the dinner table
  • Clearing their own plastic dishes and utensils after mealtime
  • Helping to pack lunches into lunchboxes
  • Dusting
  • Watering the plants
  • Selecting their outfit for the next day
  • Filling a beloved pet’s water bowl
  • Vacuuming

How do your children participate in family chores?

Puppy Love: Family Pets & Responsibility

Including our children in the care of our beloved family pets can provide valuable lessons on love, kindness, gentleness and responsibility. Here are some doggone great ways (supervised, of course) children of varying ages and stages can participate.

  • Babies can begin to learn about being gentle and soft while petting a furry pet. Little ones who are a bit too rough can practice petting a stuffed animal first—it’s important to consider the safety of our children and our pets!
  • Toddlers can learn to brush a bunny, cat or dog.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers can use measuring cups to fill food bowls.
  • Preschoolers can practice learning how to tell time when given the responsibility of announcing “feeding time” of any type of pet—fluffy or scaly.
  • Older children may practice taking the dog for a walk in your fenced in yard or hold the leash while you walk with them.

How do your children help with your pet?

Whistle While You Work: Your Child’s Chores

Music - GirlChores are a valuable life activity for everyone. They help fulfill our basic need to feel needed and contribute to our household. Helping others, and doing a good job at it, helps boost children’s self-esteem, while making them feel more confident, competent and valuable. However, getting children to put down the toys, turn off the television and get off the couch to help clean, declutter and spruce up the house isn’t an easy chore in itself! Here are some great ways to motivate children of any age to consistently get their chores done, while minimizing the moaning and groaning.

  • Keep a list of chores for every member of the family—even mom and dad. This helps children see that no one in the house is exempt from doing their fair share of the housework. If they see in black and white what mom and dad do each day, their chores may seem like less of a hassle.
  • Don’t expect perfection. When introducing a new chore, show your child how it is done first and then let them do it their way. It may not be exactly how you’d like it to be done, but at least they’re making an effort. Don’t step in and take over or redo the chore after they have finished. Next time, offer some tips on how to do it better. They’ll learn eventually and be encouraged to keep up with it.
  • Time it! If a chore is assigned, give a time frame for completing it. If not, your child may realize they can put it off until you or someone else takes care of it. When a chore is completed properly and on time, offer appreciation and praise for your child’s diligent follow through.

Gather Around Our Table

For most parents, getting the family to the dinner table—and keeping them there—takes some creativity. Here are a few secrets to help your little ones (and bigger ones) stay put, eat something other than mac-n-cheese and even look forward to family meals together.

Cut yourself some slack. The goal is to keep your family mealtime a positive, happy experience. Think about lowering your expectations for what a “sit-down” meal with little ones and bigger ones means. Real life can be hectic—balancing work, soccer, piano lessons, play dates—and getting the whole family to the table at the same time can be so challenging that many families just give up. Most of us believe that family dinner is important—we simply lack the patience, energy or tools to pull it off. And then we feel guilty.

Why not make dinnertime fun instead of a chore? Include an unexpected ingredient such as purple carrots or star fruit, serve the kids’ juice in fancy glasses—or enjoy pancakes, eggs and OJ instead of your usual dinner fare. Have a picnic: pack up a basket, spread out a blanket on the living room floor, move a couple potted plants over and enjoy dinner in “the park.” Is your fridge full of leftovers? Dish them up, put out some soft taco shells and let your family enjoy making their own “wacky wrap” creations.

Make it a group effort and give everyone a responsibility. Your spouse could get the salad together while your daughter sets the table. Let your youngest supervise from his booster seat while your son takes the drink orders. Your 10-year-old can feed the baby while you get the rest of dinner on the table. This is the perfect opportunity to provide your children with a valuable sense of involvement. Ask your family for their own ideas and allow them to choose the side dishes for the week. Remember that while some of their requests may be a bit off the wall, they are (generally) doable.

Start a tradition of “Family Happy Hour.” Before you start preparing dinner, serve healthy appetizers such as chopped veggies with hummus or baked whole grain tortilla chips with mango salsa while listening to a fun playlist. These healthy options take the edge off their hunger, and you may find your children happier and more willing to try new foods when you do sit down together.

Dinner is not your only option. Sometimes the demands of real life can get in the way of this important commitment—so, we need to be flexible. Family mealtime is about connecting with your family—if dinner is impossible, why not connect over lunch or a snack? And, take advantage of some shortcut ideas. On the weekend, why not prepare a few meals in advance so that everything is ready to be heated when you get home from a long day at work? Learn to make some compromises—crock pots can be wonderful, and not every meal needs to be Coq au vin!

Family dinner is a good idea. “Mealtime is often the only time in the whole day when everybody’s in the same room having a conversation,” says William Doherty, Ph.D., author of The Intentional Family (Addison Wesley Longman, 1997), “so it’s where the family’s culture gets created.” Family dinner helps demonstrate to our children that they are important enough for us to spend this valuable time with. And we often hear experts say that consistent family mealtime improves nutrition, table manners, communication skills, family relationships and bonding.

Cooking with Children: Make it Fun, Safe & Memorable!

Sharing the kitchen with your child can not only create a lifetime of happy memories, but can also instill valuable life lessons from a young age. Through baking, cooking and even cleaning up, children can develop and express their creativity and independence; explore new foods; learn about nutrition; enhance their math, reading and science skills; and, most importantly, spend valuable quality time with mom, dad and siblings.

Below are a few tips to help make kitchen time with your little one fun, safe and memorable:

Always stress cleanliness and safety in the kitchen.

  • Wash hands before, after and as-needed during the process.
  • Provide your child with a sturdy, non-slip step stool to stand on so they are at your level.
  • Use kid-friendly wood or plastic utensils.
  • Let them choose their own apron or buy a plain one that they can personalize with fabric markers. Covering up will help cut down on the cleanup afterward.
  • Keep sharp knives, graters and other dangerous tools/appliances away from small hands.
  • Explain that only mom and dad can use the stove, oven and other electrical appliances.
  • Supervise your child closely. Stay in the room until the cooking is complete. If you need to leave for some reason, take them with you.

Include your child in the preparation.

  • Decide together what to make.
  • Read the recipe together thoroughly and gather all ingredients before beginning.  Take them shopping with you for the ingredients and/or have them help select what you need from the cupboard.

Start out easy.

  • When first introducing your child to the joy of baking, use simple recipes with basic ingredients and uncomplicated instructions.
  • Box mixes are a great way to get started. They usually ask for only two or three added ingredients and provide easy-to-follow, detailed instructions right on the box.
  • As your child learns more about the cooking and baking process, feel free to introduce more complex recipes.

Let them do it.

  • This is a great learning opportunity for your little one, so let them measure and pour ingredients into the bowl. It’s not only a good math lesson, but also bolsters their confidence.

Taste and praise!

  • Learning to cook and bake should be a fun experience for your child, so always be enthusiastic about tasting their masterpiece and praise the effort and the outcome, no matter what. They’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment and be excited for their next cooking adventure!