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How to make children enjoy working around the house

By Wangeci Kanyeki | November 26th 2015

Children are on school holidays and this is an opportune time to train them on house chores. However, giving children house chores can be met with grunts and grumbling and as my 11-year-old daughter recently told me: She considered the housework I was giving her child labour, thanks to a definition in her school text book.

That notwithstanding, parenting coach Roselyn Kigen says chores teach children how to be empathetic and responsible by taking care of younger siblings, washing up and cleaning up.

In his book, Building Strong Families, Andrey Olivier recommends that to build strong, resilient families, everyone should share the load (housework included), which creates discipline and trains in work ethics and time management.

A great way to motivate your youngsters is to provide creative cleaning tools that inspire them to do their house chores and enjoy the process. Children have a great appreciation for colour and that is one way to draw attention to your cleaning tools.

Brooms and mops

As the saying goes, new brooms sweep clean. When was the last time you replaced your brooms? Shop around various local supermarkets and you will be surprised how innovative broom manufacturers have become.

Broom and mop handles now come in floral patterns and exciting colours such as reds, greens and blues to match your kitchen theme colours. Smaller and light weight hand-held brush and dust pans come in exciting neon colours that will motive the children to proactively clean up the carpet and floor from the falling food crumbs.

Even toddlers can share in the workload. Have different colour codes for different broom functions such as a red one for indoor and a green hard scrubbing brush for outdoor verandahs. Old stick vifagio (local brooms made from sticks) are suitable for children as they are shorter and often smaller for little hands to handle.

Aprons and gloves

Buying or tailor making aprons, chefs hats and gloves for the children offers a great incentive for these youngsters to get off the screen and learn life skills of cooking for themselves a simple meal or making snacks for their frequent nibbling while they are at home. Younger ones can share in the workload and help in preparing ingredients for your next meal such as peeling carrots and potatoes.

Outdoor tools

Find age-appropriate tasks to keep children busy outdoors as they absorb the sun rays and sunshine. Purchase smaller watering cans so they can water the plants at least once a week and a rake to sweep the falling leaves away from the compound. 

Toddlers can help collect pegs and put them into a container. Of course the more colourful the cleaning tools the easier it will be to merge the lines between work and play, resulting in more cheerful workers.

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