Let’s be honest, we’re not superheroes. Work, kids, husband, wife, home, friends, party. We can’t do everything all the time, not without help anyway. It’s natural to want and feel like asking for help. That’s the great thing about kids, they’re like Santa’s little helpers without the ridiculous outfits. When your partner is at work or unavailable, who better and more easily available to ask for help than your kids? BUT HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO DO ANYTHING? Worry not, here are some tips that’ll help you get your kids to help you out:
The best way to motivate anyone to do anything is to make them feel good about it. This works with kids too! If you do end up being able to get your kid to do some work or chore, make sure you offer them a lot of encouragement so that they feel like they’re doing well and being productive. Give them a lot of love and support and motivate them to keep going at it if they seem to be getting discouraged.
Fun fun fun!
If the problem is getting your kids to start doing a chore, then one strategy you can try out is to make the work fun! Make it a game that they’d like to play or something that they’ll have fun doing. A lot of kids like getting messy so they love helping out with cooking and baking. If the chores are simple things like putting things away, then playing a short game when putting toys away can help make it fun. It may take up a bit more time, but once that motivation to do the work is established, it’ll be easier to get your kid to clean up.
Every human has an internal drive to be productive. The kind of productivity, however, varies. One way that many parents have found effective is to find tasks related to things that their kids find fun. Example: Kids who like playing house - help out with setting the table and cleaning the dishes. If it’s in tune with your kid's interests, their drive to be productive gets satisfied and your housework gets done, so it’s a win-win.
Similar to encouragement, your little one is more likely to help out around the house if they feel that the work they’re doing is valued, useful, and important. For little kids, making them feel important is as easy as giving them an important sounding title like “chef” or “sir” while for older kids, you may have to set the task to make them feel important. Give them a task that they feel is important to you and the family. You can also try to make it a little bit challenging so that they’re still able to complete the task, but they also feel like they’ve accomplished something.
A lot of the time, work is done simply because of what one is accustomed to. If helping out around the house is made a routine, your kids will probably end up doing the work just because they're used to always do it. It would be helpful if the tasks are switched around or made fun because sticking to the exact same routine all the time can get boring which could demotivate your kids from working and encourage them to slack off or start making excuses.
They may be a little pestering when they’re tiny and unable to really help, but try to encourage your kids when they volunteer to help out. Inculcating a helping and working behavior with your kids at a young age will make them more probable to engage in helping behavior when they’re older.
Choose and allocate a time for and a type of chore based on availability. You may decide to sign your kids up for some music classes or sports club or they may get a lot of homework from school. All these things affect the free time that your kid has and the amount of free time that they’re willing to give up. It also affects when they’re free. Assign chores which are in accordance with these timetables and energy levels. Try to give them small and easy chores to do during the week like drying dishes after dinner or setting the table, and leave bigger chores on the weekends, like laundry.
Sometimes, your little one may find some task too difficult. In such a case, be a guide. Show them how to do it by demonstrating or giving step by step instructions. It’s important to keep your cool and not come off as nagging because then you’ll probably put your kid off from doing any other work in the future. Teach them how to perform the task and then given them the freedom to do it on their own, without controlling them.
Getting your kids to help out can either be really easy or really difficult, depending on the approach you take. The above factors can act as a guide to how to make it easy - all you need to do is use them in a way that’s suitable for your situation and the kind of work you want to do, and Santa’s little helpers will be around all year long.