Every family has a kid who thinks they’re ‘just visiting,’ according to Jay Laga’aia.
You know the sort. This little mooch will treat your house like a hotel, expecting a full turn-down service, even though their 16 and entirely capable of making their own bed, thank you very much.
But experts say age appropriate chores are essential if you want your child to grow into a well-adjusted adult.
So how do you get your little couch potatoes to trade their iPad in for an iSponge?
Ask a dad of eight.
Jay Laga’aia is a Playschool presenter and father to a tribe of eight, aged from seven to 33. And on the latest episode of our parenting podcast This Glorious Mess, he shared his top tricks for training his army.
Troops, assemble. It’s time to mop the deck.
“The trick is simple. In my household when I want something done I turn the internet off,” Jay says.
“They give you what I call the ‘router lean’, where the door opens up and they lean out the door, look around and they go, ‘Dad is the WiFi off?’ ‘Actually, I turned it off. But while you’re here, come and say hello to Mr. Dishes.'”
Set a time limit.
“You’ve gotta set a time limit. Otherwise with my older ones they’ll go ‘yeah, yeah, I’ll get it done’ and I say, ‘in my lifetime!’ So I go, ‘It needs to be done in an hour. If it’s not done in an hour, you and I are gonna dance.’ And at least they can muck around for a little bit and I point out the time or I set an alarm.”
Give them responsibility.
“If they wanna have a go [at mowing the lawn] you stand right next to them, push it with them and you always tell them, ‘this will cut you.'”
But not too much responsibility.
“Don’t leave your brains at the door…you know your child better than experts do. I guarantee, if you get a five-year-old or under to comb their hair, you will have to comb it afterwards.”
“I encourage them to invite their friends over, and shame them into cleaning their room.”
“You tend to find cups and cutlery that you were missing in the kitchen for four or five months that was stored under their bed like they were in survivor mode.”
The electric cattle prod.
And if all else fails, remember: genius comes from a messy room.
Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess here:
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How do you get your kids to do chores? Tell us in the comments below.