9 Ways to encourage your kids to do chores

Do your kids do chores?  The boys have been doing chores or helping round the house since they could walk.  It used to be simple, they followed me round and did them, but as they have got older, it sometimes is a battle.  So what are age chores do your kids do you get them to do them? Ways to encourage your kids to do chores

How to encourage your kids to do chores.

Make them non-negotiable The boys know no difference, they have to set the table, make their beds, bring their washing down etc.   It is expected that they do certain things everyday.  We don't negotiate with these chores, they are essentially something that they need to do unless they are unwell. Rewards and recognition.  Some chores are expected for the good of the family and others are rewarded,  You need to find what carrot encourages your children. My boys get extra pocket money for doing certain things.  Other times if we know that they are saving for something we will give them the option of extra jobs round the house in exchange for doing them.  However, we also reward them for doing things unexpectedly with things like choosing the next movie or going to the cinema, Make them fun I don't just give the boys the boring jobs, they love to use gadgets, so they use the Karcher Window Vacuum on the windows and they don't even realise that they are doing a chore, they find it fun.  Plus the do a great job with it as it really works. I often set the timer and we will have a family tidy or use a song to see how much we can get done my the end of the song. Mini never complains about cleaning the windows when he uses our Karcher Window Vac! Give them the right tools for the job When they were smaller both the boys had their own cleaning kit with mini versions of my tools in.  Now they are bigger they can use adult tools, but they need to be light.  We recently were sent the Karcher  MV 2 multi-purpose vacuum cleaner and due to the fact that it is really lightweight it is perfect for the boys to use. Don't use chores as a punishment Chores are not a negative thing, they are things that everyone needs to do, so that we have time together.  I do not want to make chores a negative thing or make doing more of them a consequence of bad behaviour. Consider a chart When my boys were younger charts really helped them.  Not just a reward chart for adding or ticking off what they have done, but also for setting clear expectations of what is expected of them.  It also saves nagging if you can just direct them to a chart. Discuss them Don't be totally dictatorial when it comes to chores, there may be things that your kids really hate doing and they might want to trade them for a different chore.  Personally I hate emptying the bin, so I traded it with ironing MadDad's shirts.  I encourage the boys to think this way to and I am as flexible as I can be. Give them a role As part of our Karcher Ambassador role we are reviewing their products, so I asked the boys to take responsibility for the latest two, the Window Vacuum and the Karcher  MV 2 multi-purpose vacuum cleaner.  They took their role very seriously and want to know  what they thought, then take a look at the video below. Chores can improve behaviour  Heavy work chores are great for helping children to destress - want to know more then take a look at Project Sensory.  I know from experience that these really help Mini and you can print off a free Heavy chore list. How do you encourage your children to do chores?  How old are they and what are your expectations of them? As part of our role as Karcher Ambassadors this year we have been reviewing their products. MadDad hoovering Karcher  MV 2 multi-purpose vacuum cleaner This is a really lightweight vacuum that is perfect for the heavier jobs round the house, including ruble and cleaning the car.  It really came in to its own when we were decorating and is easy for the kid to use due to its weight and simple instructions.  It is powerful and practical, but not really all that stylish! It can also blow as well as suck, so is perfect for blowing leaves from guttering (yes I am short and can not reach and  it can suck up water so would have come in very handy when we have the flood in the kitchen. Window Vacuum One of the things that we cut back on is a window cleaner, so this is perfect for me as it means I can get streak free windows fast.  More than that the kids actually want to use it and they get great results too (no point in them doing work if I have to do it again)! I was dubious as to whether we would use it and if it was a gimmick, but it sits in the utility room and is used on a regular basis.
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After school snack ideas

My boys seem to have hollow legs they are always eating.  They both have school lunch and then we eat together as a family at six pm each evening during the week.  So I need to find them an after school snack that satisfies their hunger, but doesn't overfill them. They also have Judo, cubs and football, so it is all about balancing their needs and wants, which isn't easy when you are 8 and 9! healthy after school snack inspiration

Healthy after school snack ideas

  The biggest thing I have learned is that I need to make sure I have something ready for when they get in from school,  to make sure that they don;t reach for the wrong type of food.
  1. Peanut butter, banana, and nutella on brown bread
  2. Cheese, crackers and crudites
  3. Afternoon tea
  4. Fruit salad and yogurt
  5. Muffins
  6. Cereal
  7. Smoothies
  8. Breadsticks and Dip
  9. Maltloaf
  10. Dried  Fruit and nut mix
  11. Cookies and milk
  12. Toast
  13. Soup
  14. Beans or spaghetti on toast
Now I wish I was one of those Mum's that always have things prepared, but I don't and the boys don't always go for what I do have.  So it is great to have some alternatives in like chips and dip and cakes. Kates cakes thumbs up We were recently sent some Kate's Cakes to try and the boys have been putting them to the test.  They are  GMO free, free of artificial flavourings and preservatives and made with free range eggs.  The come in boxes of six (all individually packaged) for £1.99 and you can get them from Tesco's. Mini likes the Lemon Drizzle ones and Maxi's favorites are chocolate fudge. It means that I don't have to make a full cake and that I can have something in to serve them with a nice cup of tea after school. The fact that there is none left two days later tells you how much the boys enjoyed them and MadDad thought they tasted great too.  They didn't even leave me one to try!

Win Kate's Cakes

For your chance to win 4 boxes of Kate's Cakes and an afternoon tea set like (with mugs and not my teapot)! then please follow the instructions below. Kate's Cake Selection 3.
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Easy Ribbon Christmas for kids to make

There is nothing nicer than receiving a homemade Christmas card and these simple ribbon Christmas cards are so easy for you to make with kids of all ages. simple ribbon christmas cards (more…)
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Ways to use your free advent acts of kindness printables

So you saw my recent post with the 50 advent acts of kindness with the two free printable sets designed by the lovely Purple Pumpkin blog. Well I wanted to share with you ways to display them or use them. 50 advent acts of kindness We tried to make it easy for you all by offering them in two different sizes (A4 and US letter size) in addition to two designs christmas trees and also gift tags.

Kindness Jars

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Easy kid made Christmas cards

simple washi christmas cards I am a big fan of empowering my boys to make their own art and to interpret it their own way and this is why these easy washi tape christmas cards are ideal for children to make. (more…)
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Electra Skateboard review and giveaway

For the last month or so the boys have been getting active on a couple of Elektra Skateboards (£12.99) and an Elektra Pogo Stick (£19.99). I am a great believer in encouraging kids to be active and get outside when they can and they both scoot or bike to school, so I have known that it wouldn't be long before they wanted to try out skateboards.  So when the opportunity arose to review them I said yes, knowing that it would make me the cool mum! We do have rules and I was pleased to review the matching helmets(£14.99). Mini on skateboard (more…)
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Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 8/9

Even though we have read to or with the boys most nights since they were born, Maxi has been a reluctant reader for as long as we can remember.  However, Mini was a very early reader and has devoured books since he could read his first word. It has been really hard to find books that engaged Maxi, he was always a competent reader, but just didn't want to read for fun.  I have to admit that it baffled me.  What was I doing differently with Mini and how could I apply it with Maxi? Well for one thing we didn't stop reading, the one thing that we insisting on was that reading was part of family life whether that be him reading to us, one of us to the rest of the family or even Mini reading aloud to us all.  We kept visiting the library and we kept buying books. Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 89 Then it happened.  Over the summer holidays Maxi picked up a Tom Gates book by Liz Pichon and something just clicked.  I walked into the sitting room to find him sat on the sofa giggling out loud whilst reading.  Since then he has read every single Tom Gates book and moved on to other books.  So what is it about these books?  Well for starters they are not all words, they are filled with doodles, amazing illustrations and loads of funny, laugh out loud kids speak. (more…)
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An Alternative Advent Calendar – Acts of Kindness by kids

Advent, we love it.  It is a BIG thing here in The Mad House.  We use advent as a way to celebrate the build up to Christmas and to take the commercialism out of it.   The MiniMads have not yet had a chocolate advent calendar, although I might bend to their wishes this year!  We have an activity advent calendar instead and this year we are having an alternative advent calendar, where we are going to do an act of kindness each day 50 advent acts of kindness Kindness can cost nothing and I want to raise the MiniMads to always be kinder than they need to be and feel that focusing on acts of kindness during Advent it will be a great learning experience and also spread some joy. Our kindness mission statement:
  • Spread the word - encourage other people to join in and become happiness heroes
  • Have fun and enjoy making other people happy
  • To be kinder than you need to be
Last year we loved Anna from The Imagination Trees Kindness Elves and this would be a great list to use for that.  Alternately you could pick which works for you and add it to an advent calender or pop them all in a jar (like we do with our Bored Jar) and pick one out each day. (more…)
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Be inspired to craft with the kids and eBbay voucher giveaway

eBay asked me what Inspired me at this time of the year?  Well I didn't have to think all that long to know that it was doing art and crafts with the kids.  The fact the evenings are darker, so they are not out playing gives us the opportunity to get creative together. Plus I love this time of year for all the inspiration to craft and make together. We love to make homemade gifts, cards, art and food.  It is part of who we are and I feel that it is important for boys to be exposed to creativity, which is why we have a six pm limit on screen time.  One of our traditions is to make christmas cards for friends and family and we tend to start them pretty early.  You can see some that we have made in previous years and they don't have to be hard to make, but the boys love making them and gifting them.  people have come to expect a homemade card. christmas crafting So being and creating with kids is a huge inspiration for me.  I want to inspire you, in fact I hope that Mum in The Mad House inspires you to do things with your kids. We want to inspire you to get creative with your kids and along with eBay I have created a collection called Kids Christmas Crafting. This collection should give you some ideas of things to get to help you with your crafting at this time of the year and there is something for everyone from the novice crafter to the ones used to getting crafty with their kids. Over the coming weeks you will see that we start to produce more christmas crafts and decorations and we will be sharing our how to's on here.  You will find activities and ideas to use all of the items on our collection. kid made christmas cards To start you off, why not have a go at making our  simple stencil kid made christmas cards. For these you will need the following:
  1. Christmas stencils
  2. Ready mixed poster paint in green
  3. White blank cards and envelopes
  4. Christmas themes sequins
  5. PVA glue
You will also need some marking tape and a sponge.  Take a look at our how to here. We also have a fab Christmas board on Pinterest for you to follow, which is filled with inspirational ideas, activities, art and craft for kids. Follow Jen Walshaw's board Christmas on Pinterest. To enable you to give a start on buying from my collection, then I have a fab giveaway for you in conjunction with eBay. Like this collection and my forthcoming one and you could be in with the chance to win £20 eBay voucher The winner will be chosen at random from their eBay ID and notified by the 5th January, co please like the collection and leave me a comment with your collection ID and your favorite crafting item for this time of year and what you would make with it.

Follow my collection called Kids Christmas Crafting

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Encouraging you and your kids to walk to school #shareyouradventure

Since Easter my boys have been walking to school on their own.  They scoot, bike, walk or run regardless of the weather, but I know that this isn't always the case for all children. mini on way back from school So I have been working with Regatta, the great outdoors clothing company to encourage parents to ditch the car and get walking to school by making it an adventure.   Their recent research shows that 58% of British children pester their parents to walk to school more, believing that it allows them to spend more quality time with friends and family, whilst getting some well needed fresh air and having an adventure along the way! To help mums, dads, grandmas and granddads across the country get the most out of their walk to school, they have created a handy downloadable Adventure Guide, with some quirky ideas and inspiration on how to turn the school run into an exciting adventure. They adventure guide is pack full of ways to make the walk with your kids more fun, so do take a look. Often, it isnt the kids that struggle to find the time to make a walk, as parents we are busy juggling everything and sometimes it is quicker and easier to drive, so I want to share with you some reasons that walking to school is great for ALL the family and also ways to make it easier for you.

Why it is good to walk to school

How to make walking to school a priority
  1. Walking gives you higher energy levels and reduces stress
  2. Children who walk to school arrive in a calmer frame of mind, ready to cope with the work of the day
  3. Walking cuts down on traffic congestion and pollution, therefore supporting the environment
  4. Walking prevents osteoporosis and can reduce the risk of heart disease
  5. If the walk is too far them try parking a reasonable distance from the school where it is easier to park and walk the rest of the way
  6. No more trying to find a parking space near the school
  7. Walking is a great daily exercise not only for your kids but for you too

How to make walking to school a priority

Before my boys walked to school on their own I walked with them.  Yes it would have been quicker to use the car, however,  when you factored in parking and the stress of nagging them it really was much calmer when we walked. Planning was the key for me, by making sure that everything was ready the night before and once I realised how much the boys enjoyed walking to school it was easy to make sure it was something that we continued with.  They got so much from that walk from road safety to learning about the seasons, but I got so much dedicated time with them too. Make sure that you have the right clothing.  We all have hats, gloves, scarfs for the colder weather and we have learned that waterproof boots are essential in the wet weather.  Regatta sent us all three in one coats and I have to say they are fantastic, during the warmer months the waterproof is great and as it gets colder then you can add the fleece lining and they become super warm. Over the winter when it snows it is almost impossible for me to drive the boys to school, so walking becomes the only  option!  If you do walk to school then please do share your adventure with #shareyouradventure with Regatta on twitter or facebook Disclosure: We were all sent 3 in 1 coat's, hats, gloves and boots from Regatta.  I have to say we are really impressed with the coats due to their 3 in 1 nature.  The boys have worn them without their inner fleece to and from school and also worn the fleeces separately too and now this week has become colder they have worn them together.  In fact we all love our cold weather kit, it is perfect for getting out and about and making the most of the daylight as a family.   
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