My kids know I want things – all the things – to be put away in their home. Everything has a home. The dirty laundry goes in a basket. The dirty dishes go to the sink. The trash goes to the trash can. Yet, I find myself repeating these things often!
While I understand the value of keeping an orderly household by cleaning, decluttering, and just general organization, it’s not really like that for most kids. Mine are currently 16, almost 14, and 8. They know, but they don’t know, you know? Most kids need to have this instilled into them, learn it, and grasp it in order for it to truly happen. Just like teaching them how to take care of themselves.
But chances are, you probably know that getting your kids to understand the importance of taking care of the house can not only lighten your load but also instill valuable life skills in them. So, how can we do this? I probably shouldn’t actually be offering advice because I’m still teaching this, but here we go:
Lead by example
One thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that children are keen observers. Believe it or not, they learn a great deal from watching their parents. So, you’re going to have to demonstrate good habits by consistently taking care of your own belongings and participating in household chores. Your actions serve as a powerful model for your kids, showcasing the importance of responsibility and teamwork.
That’s right, I clean up after myself generally in hopes they will do – and because I function better with less clutter and messes.
For every part of the house, both inside and out, there needs to be a routine, and sometimes, this is going to vary based on the season. So, just keep in mind that consistency is key when instilling habits. When children know what to expect, it becomes a natural part of their routine, reducing resistance and making the process more seamless.
We have seasonal routines around here with tending to our pool and yard. These chemicals go in the pool each week and the yard needs to be mowed every week or so. My kids have learned these routines because they’re just part of our summer lives.
It doesn’t always have to be about them doing the chores, but it’s also about getting them to understand the importance of taking care of the home. So even if you’re planning on hiring professionals, such as for pressure washing service, then you can still explain to them why it matters and why it needs to be done. Or you can teach your teenage son to pressure wash, which is one thing we’ve done recently.
Kids are usually more likely to cooperate when they understand the purpose behind their actions or what needs to be done in general. So, you just need to explain to them that taking care of the house is a shared responsibility since everyone in the house lives there. You’ll need to, of course, explain it in a way that gets them to understand that it’s not punishment, but rather it’s help. And then I kindly ask my second-grader to unload the dishwasher.
We talk about our family being a team often – and our home is definitely our practice field. If we can work together here, we can work together anywhere. Try to discuss how everyone in the family plays a role in maintaining a clean and comfortable living space. This honestly can help create a strong family dynamic.
How do your kids help you care for your home?