One of my main goals in raising my children is to teach them to be responsible for themselves and to look out for each other and their family. I expect them to do chores that they're capable of doing. While they are sometimes required to help (and I sometimes have to dole out consequences if they refuse), it makes things so much more pleasant if they help with the chores cheerfully. Here are some strategies that you can use to encourage willingness and cheerfulness.
SingNothing lifts the spirits like a little tune. "Whistle While You Work" is a favorite. We also sing "The More We Get Together" but change the words to "The More We Work Together." We change the chorus to "My chores are your chores and your chores are my chores." If the girls are hesitant to start cleaning up, they jump right in when I start singing.
DanceShimmy while you sweep. Put on some music and jump around while you throw the toys in the toy box together. Let your children help to put away the laundry or push the laundry basket down the hall while they shake their little rumps.
MotivateA simple chore chart can be lots of fun for little ones. My 3 year old earns stickers when she does one of her chores with a happy heart , and she can choose a reward when she has earned enough stickers. Some of her rewards include a new book, some iPad time, a TV show before bed, or a trip to the toy store.
PraiseKids love hearing about how great they're doing. Be enthusiastic and give lots of kisses, hugs, and high fives. Try to praise their effort and their attitude if that is what you're trying to cultivate.
ComplimentKids love praise, but one thing my kids love even more is hearing me compliment them in front of someone else. Sometime during the day, make a mental note about a time when your child has been cheerful when helping. Then let them hear you tell the story to another family member. I try to remember something positive that my girls have done and tell their father about it during dinner or bath time. Or, I try to praise their helpfulness or their positive attitude when I'm on the phone with their grandparents.
CompeteSome kids are naturally competitive. If yours is, use it to your advantage. "Can you clean up your room before I finish folding this load of laundry?" "Who can get the most blocks back in the box?" "Whose going to be the first one to bring me their dirty dishes and get a big hug?"
How do you encourage your children to be cheerful helpers? Tell me in the comments below!
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