1. Ten minutes of teaching saves hours of correcting, nagging and failing
Never assume your kids know the best way to clean things up. Instead of generalized commands such as "pick up your room. "
2. Consider your child's perspective
Take a cue from classrooms and day cares: Classroom and daycare decor is simple, using cubbies, open baskets and boxes, with everything color-coded and accessible.
3. Work with your child's strengths and developmental level
Even grown-ups in the household divide chores according to interests and skill sets, and the same should hold true for children.
4. Accessibility encourages children without a single word
Is your home accessible to your children? In addition to creating a kid-friendly home, play, work, rest and clean-up spaces should be safe and obvious to kids.
5. Support your children's efforts with fun examples
The indoor months are perfect for visiting libraries and bookstores, and watching an occasional video.
6. Make time-management fun and easy to understand
Sometimes chores need to be done efficiently so the family can move on to the next activity or chore.
7. Allow time for mastery
Kids need time and repetition to master new skills, which includes household chores.
8. Assign a chore buddy
Young children or those mastering a new chore will benefit from reinforcement from another adult or older child.
9. Use family times to reflect on household citizenship
Take some time during a family meal or fun activity to praise kids for helping out, get their feedback and discuss changes that can be beneficial.
10. Clean your own room!
Take a good, long look at your own bedroom. Is the hamper overflowing? The bed unmade? Is the closet a graveyard of hangers and tangled shoes? Kids internalize what they observe at home, and will little motivation to perform above and beyond their own caregivers.
Mary Ann Hudson, RN, is a lactation consultant