I’m really hoping that I am not the only one here with reluctant helpers.
It’s not that my kids are bad, they are just VERY easily distracted… and they see house work for what it is (boring, tedious and never ending).
My children are all ages eight and under, so they have yet to learn that it is much easier to be peaceful and have fun in a clean house. They also have yet to learn the art of multi-tasking (cleaning the living room while watching a movie)… also, they haven’t learned yet to just do their work without gentle coaxing, reminding and outright nagging.
I have tried just about everything go get them to help (happily, I don’t want grumpy helpers). Chore charts, cards, allowances, punishments consequences. Everything. It. Gets. Old. And nothing will ruin our school day then a messy house and frustrated mom.
Call me selfish, but I am just not willing to be the only one to ever do housework. There is a whole big world out there and I would like to be able to experience it!
And yes, I know that you are supposed to start when they are young. I tried… but usually it was just faster to do it myself. I like speed. It is no longer faster to do it myself. They have somehow developed a system where they are able to increase the mess, regardless of how quickly I try to reduce it.
So anyway, I came upon a game by accident. I like to call it “Helper Without a Song” (feel free to offer more clever names in the comments). It’s very simple.
Blast your stereo as loud as you can without damaging ear drums to some fun and fast songs. Get your kids dancing along. Once they have all been dancing for a while (this step is important, you want to establish a good mood and invite lots of energy) then stop the music, assign each child a small chore (something they can do in just a couple minutes and out of the way of each other) start a new fast song and challenge them to finish their job before the song is over. If they finish quickly, they get to dance to the rest of the song and even through the next song).
I am amazed at how quickly we cleaned up our house and we were able to start our day without stress.
Which is, lately, unheard of.
Yay! Any other tips to make the drudgery of housework fun?