5 Ways To Make A Kid Happier- Part Four

This series is all about 5 easy ways to make a kid happier that may seem a little crazy at first! Click here to read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

4) Make them do chores

Haha, this lady is crazy, how would anyone be happy doing chores besides Marie Kondo? While I do love a tidy house full of folded socks and cleared-off countertops, I know that does not spark joy for my little one. 

What does spark joy for him is feeling important. Having a sense of purpose. Being responsible for someone or something else. These are big concepts for a young child, but they are also what makes a happy kid. 

When we treat young children like babies far beyond the time they actually are babies, they don’t develop a sense of purpose or helpfulness. They will always be those egocentric little maniacs who only want to do what they want. In the last article, we talked about giving them times when they are in charge, sharing that power of them deciding what to do with our full attention following them.

Again, it’s important to balance. While we also make time for them to be in charge, we also want to find times for them to help with what we need to do. Just telling a young child to go do something will rarely work long-term. Many kids will resist just because you are telling them what to do.

Getting their buy-in is essential. Explaining how they are important, why we need their help, and empowering them to help in their own way gives them that sense of purpose we want them to feel. Once they have that sense of purpose, they are ready to help because it makes them happy too!

Chores are one of the easiest ways to build that sense of purpose at home. Think small and think like the age of your little one:

  • For young toddlers, it will be more of a game of finding all of the books on the floor and placing them into a basket. (This basket will probably be dumped and refilled a few more times as we clean up everything else on the floor, but they are helping in their own way!) 
  • For older toddlers, it could be feeding the pets. My son loves being in charge of the animals at dinnertime. It took many nights of 4 pieces of kibble getting into the food bowl and the rest right next to the bowl, but the animals were fed, and eventually, the whole scoop of food made it into the bowl.
  • For older kids, it could be throwing laundry into the machine, sweeping, lining up their cars like the start of a race, helping their baby sibling take out/put away toys, etc. Anything that they are excited to do because they want to help and it is fun for them is a great chore. 

Side note: Did anyone else fight over cleaning the toilet bowl as a kid? I don’t know how my mom made that blue liquid and a brush scrubber so appealing that, for years, my brother and I fought over who would clean the toilets. Points to you, Mom!

As with anything else, this will work for a while, and then it might backfire. What was exciting and fun before is now routine, so they don’t want to do it. I feel you, kid; I’m so over the whole loading/unloading of the dishwasher thing. 

Make sure you go back to the earlier bit about getting their buy-in by finding how they feel a sense of purpose. Maybe that means new chores they can help with, making the same chore more fun with an added challenge like racing against the clock, or maybe it’s reflecting on our response to their helpfulness. 

Remember, they are tiny people helping in their own way; try to be gracious in everything they do, even if it feels like they are making more of a mess. They will improve at doing these chores more accurately with enough time, practice, and positive encouragement from you!

Speaking of positive encouragement, I can’t wait to share my last idea in this series: stop saying “good job.” Read my next article to see how this works!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: