How to motivate children to help out around the house during coronavirus shutdown

Source: Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Australians are being encouraged to stay at home as much as they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As families juggle work and home schooling all within the same home, here are some tips to keep your kids motivated to do their regular chores.

Many children in Australia are already doing their schooling from home due to concerns around COVID-19. And for some, that means the entire family is juggling work and school inside the house.

For some parents, keeping children motivated to do their daily chores can be a challenge when normal routines have changed so significantly. “A lot of young kids are going to rebel if they are told to do things around the house, when they are stuck with their parents 24/7,” says Ruchi Sinha, a senior lecturer in organisational behaviour and management at University of South Australia.

In the interest of preventing tantrums triggered by this situation, Ruchi has shared some tips on how to motivate your kids into helping out around the home.

Getting started

Sit down as a family and make a list of what needs to be done around the house. Then ask the children what their preference is. What would they like to do? “Give them the control to pick the chore,” Sinha says.

As your kids complete their chores it is important to acknowledge that and reward them. “For example giving them 10 minutes extra screen time can be a good motivation for the kids to complete a task.”

Shina says it’s also important to sit down and ask your child what their daily routine was at school. “Get to understand when they took breaks versus when they engaged in learning, versus when they had their free time.”

“To some extent emulate that so they don’t have to deal with the anxiety of losing control over their day.”.

Make things fun

Washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds is recommended by health experts in order to prevent the transfer of coronavirus. There are ways to make tasks like that more entertaining for children. 

If you have those smart gadgets like Google Home or you can put alarms on your phone, when it rings everybody in the house goes into this washing hand ritual. I have had friends who developed a song, you wash your hand for the length of the song. That is one way of doing it,” Sinha says.

Don’t over schedule

While it is important to keep your children occupied, it’s also vital not to over-schedule them. 

Sinha reminds parents to look for signs of fatigue such as tiredness.

Keep the family socially active online

It’s important to make sure children are best occupied during the isolation period. As parents you also have to look after yourself. “Irrespective of what you do as a family I think we should have time and unwind as adults in terms of getting our time alone.”

With technology at our disposal there are many ways to make sure you have an opportunity to unwind and also stay connected. “A couple of close friends and I have a glass of wine over a video chat every second or third day.”

Sinha who has been self isolating for the past 11 days uses video conferencing app Zoom for her 6-year-old daughter to stay in touch with her friends as well. “She has virtual playdates and shows her friends her room and her bed and so forth and we have on a recurring basis we have scheduled it at 10:30am on Saturdays so that is something that they look forward to.”

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Indoors, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

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