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Kids may loathe doing chores, but they’re important life skills for them to learn—and the younger you get them started, the better. We partnered with Miele to create an easy guide to empowering your kids to help out around the kitchen, whatever their age.
An important part of helping kids to build their self-esteem is making them feel useful. And a great way to do that, especially when they’re young, is to regularly involve them in household routines—especially in the kitchen. From preparing their own snacks to putting their dishes in the sink to helping with vacuuming, getting your kids involved early on will encourage them to live a clean and healthy life. Here’s how to get them started.
Morning routine: When your little ones wander all sleepy-eyed into the kitchen each morning, ask them to gather their own breakfast items, including their bowl, spoon and cup, as well as the cereal box, milk, and juice carton from the fridge. If toast or a bagel is their breakfast of choice, let them be responsible for layering their favorite spread on top. Don’t worry if they make a little bit of a mess—clean-up can be all part of the breakfast routine. Once they’re finished eating, teach them to always put their dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher and to wipe down their place at the table before getting ready for school. You can even add a bit of fun by letting them do a quick vacuum around their chair to suck up any stray crumbs.
After-school routine: As soon as the kids get home in the afternoon, get them in the habit of washing their hands before preparing their snack. Easy things they can create themselves include a yogurt cup, a PB&J sandwich, apple pieces with almond butter, and hummus on crackers. When they’re done snacking and have cleared away their plates, ask for help with small tasks like putting away the groceries or unpacking the dishwasher. By making this sort of thing a fun family activity (singing silly songs can liven things up) your kids are more likely to enjoy doing them.
Evening routine: After their homework is done and put away neatly (and they’ve had a short break for some fun), encourage your kids to be a regular part of dinner prep. This can range from light vegetable cleaning such scrubbing potatoes or de-stringing green beans, to sifting, stirring or mashing ingredients, juicing citrus, or pulling kale or herbs off the stem. You can also make them feel useful by getting them to set the table for dinner and fill the water glasses. After the meal, they can assist with dessert prep by scooping ice cream or serving fruit.
Following dinner, make it their nightly task to put the silverware in the dishwasher (which doesn’t usually require much spatial problem-solving) or drying the non-breakable dishes. Then while you’re giving the kitchen floor a once-over with the vacuum cleaner, ask for their keen eye to them to point out crumbs on the floor. You can also make them feel extra helpful by allowing them to help remove the filter bag and either empty it or throw it away.
The most important thing is to make your kids feel empowered about helping out, so cleaning feels less like a boring task and more like they’re being useful and contributing to the household in their own unique way. Once they get the hang of certain things, ask them if there are other jobs that they feel like they are responsible enough to help out with. By showing that you are willing to trust them with such important tasks, you’ll be giving them a great boost of self-esteem.
We've partnered with Miele to show you how instilling a love for cleaning in your kids can be easy (and stress-free) when you have the right tools for the job—like a vacuum from Miele's HomeCare line.