One of the ways to entertain children is to get them to help with the household chores. They will enjoy this quality time with you and it will help build up a sense of worth, independence, give them social values, and a whole lot of other good qualities – but most importantly once they have mastered the chore it will free up some more time for yourself, or at the very least make it less of a chore .
Social Learning Theory argues that children acquire and develop more complex forms of behaviours by observing the consequences in others. Whether that behaviour is then imitated is largely determined by the consequences to the model performing the act. In a nutshell that means make sure you reward yourself for doing the housework and make sure your children see you having that reward. Also do this for your children – so whether that’s a naughty inbetween meals snack, or to watch tv, or play on computers, stay up late or any other activity that you restrict normally and keep as a treat.
What I find with my boys is they can be quiet competitive so making household chores a competition – like who can do the most, the quickest etc can help spurn them on. A visual list of jobs that can be done can help them think what they can do to help and be ticked off to see who has done the most. This is particularly useful for our son with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Easy Activities include:
- Pairing socks.
- Sorting the washing.
- Stripping and making beds.
- Washing & drying up/loading the dishwasher.
- Sweep up.
- Cleaning the table.
- Putting clothes on/off the line. Passing the pegs for the younger ones.
- Putting their clothes away.
- Putting toys away.
- Peeling vegetables.
- Laying the table.
- Cooking (making jelly, cakes, chocolate nests, pizza, or as they get older something more complicated like shepherds pie).
- Emptying the bathroom and putting the things back in, eg toys (so parent can clean it).
- Food shopping – having a list, finding the things, putting them in the trolley, taking them out, bagging them up, unpacking at home, putting them in the cupboards).
- Growing food.
- Getting nappy/wipes ready to help change baby.
Housework is good exercise; and one of the reasons that it is thought that women live longer than men, is that women are more likely than men to benefit from regular exercise by shopping, and cleaning than men are in old age. It has been found that men are more likely to survive after the death of a spouse if they are self-sufficient – eg able to go food shopping, cook a meal, clean their clothes, than those who are not.
So whether it is that you take it in turns or have set jobs to do, whatever works for each couple – the key is to discuss things.
So how about your household – what jobs do your children help with? Do they have set jobs or just help out as and when? And what about your other half? Do they help out? Do you take it in turns or have set jobs? Do you argue about housework? And what would be your ideal solution?