January 28, 2021

Has the pandemic wrought havoc on your haven? Is your dining room barely discernible from a garage sale? After nearly a year of living, working, schooling, and playing at home, perhaps your space could use a good ol’ fashioned spring spruce up.

Getting everyone in the family involved in spring cleaning or year-round household chores is a win-win. It’s good for parents, because let’s be honest, you could use some help. It’s good for the kids because it teaches them responsibility and what it means to be part of a family.

Here are some steps and ideas to get you started!

  1. Make a list of all the housework.
  2. While we are using the word “chore” as a shortcut in this post, think about maybe not even using the word “chore” at home. Family contributions or housework might be better word choices, since chore has a negative connotation.
  3. Divide tasks up into Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Seasonal.
  4. Invite all members to a family meeting.
  5. Present your list in the meeting so everyone sees all the chores.
  6. Explain who does what right now and how you’d like everyone in the family to help.
  7. Ask kids which chores they would like to do, or think they can handle.
  8. Getting input and buy-in from kids helps! They’ll have some control and say.
  9. Create a “signup sheet” so family members can put their name next to a chore they’d like to do.
  10. Encourage children to take chores related to pets, their own bedrooms, playrooms, etc.
  11. Don’t limit kids’ chores to their own belongings or spaces. Living spaces, kitchen chores, setting the table—these are good for children to help with, too.
  12. Organize chores and/or checklists in a fun way—charts, desk or wall calendar, a dry-erase board on the fridge, stickers for little ones. Get creative!
  13. If your family is more tech-savvy, try free apps like OurHome.
  14. Use a rewards system. Positive reinforcement is a great way to keep everyone motivated.
  15. Speaking of rewards, try “experience” rewards in addition to money or candy/treats. For example: Do something fun with the family at the end of a whole month of everyone sticking with their housework!
  16. Organize the cleaning closet. Brooms, mops, vacuum, cleaning cloths, dusters and cleaners should be easy for everyone to get what they need.
  17. Invest in convenience items like a light, cordless vacuum for stairs, Swiffer, magic erasers, cleaning wipes, etc, to make cleaning easier for kids.
  18. Make time on the weekends for everyone to do some weekly housework together. Put on some music like Amazon Prime’s cleaning playlists.
  19. Teach older children to do their own laundry! Even younger children can help by making sure their laundry basket makes it to the laundry room on a certain day, or days, of the week.
  20. Be consistent! This goes for every aspect of parenting.
  21. Talk about consequences if chores are not done. Make sure to set expectations and follow through with consequences.
  22. Have regular conversations or meetings about chores, division of labor, what is going well and what needs improvement.
  23. Keep it positive!
  24. Talk about your feelingswhen you’re frustrated. This is a great opportunity to model good communication. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with housework, tell them how that makes you feel and why you are asking for help.
  25. Use YouTubeand Google to look for cleaning tips, hacks for making housework easier, and other methods for more efficient cleaning.
  26. Some experts recommend NOT tying chores to children’s allowance. Helping with housework is every family members’ responsibility, because that’s what being part of a family is about. Tying allowance to chores can reinforce a negative lesson (what’s in it for me?), but ultimately it’s up to parents to figure out what works best.More about this topic here.
  27. Don’t forget meal preparation and cooking as part of the list of tasks and responsibilities for kids.
  28. Browse Pinterestfor sticker charts and chore calendar downloadables.
  29. Educate yourself on positive parenting strategies! Many parents find themselves nagging kids to get XYZ done on a daily basis. Get some help by attending Parenting Education
  30. Angie’s List put together a great chart for age appropriate chores for kids!