Get the Whole Family to Help with Yard Chores
By Midwest Traction on March 21, 2018
Lawn & Garden Articles
Let’s face it: No one likes chores, especially your kids. But spring has arrived, and yard work needs to be done. You could have a fight and lots of pouting about helping out... but we’ve got a better plan. Everyone loves fun. Everyone loves games. And if you have more than one child, competition is abundant. Use that to your advantage by gamifying chore time.
Have two kids that are constantly going at each other’s throats? Put them on opposing teams. First done gets a reward, or the loser gets a penalty. We recommend Olympic-style competition: multiple events with combined points for a winning total at the end. Winner gets to pick what’s for dinner, what movie you’ll watch for family night, ice cream, a pass on chores for the next week, etc.
Age limits what each child is able to contribute. Give them simple tasks, like putting sticks or rocks into designated areas. If you have small tots who aren't walking yet, put them in a stroller and bring them outside. Observe sun safety procedures.
Fresh air, exercise, and time with their humans are all things that make for a happy dog. If you’ve got one that likes fetch, use it to your advantage. Pick out a stick to keep your pup occupied.
Have a digger? Guide it to a spot that actually needs to be dug (kudos to you if you can get them to stay there).
Having them with you cuts down on the chances that they’re inside chewing up your kitchen floor (based on actual events) and the fresh air and exercise will not only tire them out, but leave you with one happy pup. Happy tired dogs = dogs who won't be destructive.
Tell them they can work on their tan while helping with the yard. Arm them with water guns and let them have a water fight while watering the lawn/plants/etc. Hide their phone (dun dun DUN!) until they've completed their tasks. You may need to create different tiers of rewards based on the ages of your children. The more appealing the reward, the greater the motivation to complete tasks in a timely manner.
Chores to Complete
Use our starter pack for ideas on what tasks need to be completed over the weekend.
Leaf Raking, Pine Cones, and Tree Branches
Inevitably, leftover leaves from autumn end up on the lawn or in your plant beds. They need to be removed to allow for healthy undergrowth and prevent mold. Winner is the one with the biggest pile.
Pine cones and tree branches get in the way of lawn care, so have a competition to see who can gather the most. If you have a fire pit, clean it out, and motivate the winner of this round by letting them choose what goes on the smores. We're fans of Reese's peanut butter cups and Caramello bars in place of chocolate. Wet wipes are highly recommended.
Siding, windows, plants, grass, and patio furniture likely need a good rinse. Use water guns, hoses, buckets, and sprinklers to create a fun water fight obstacle course with rules so that nothing gets overwatered. Penalties for not following the rules of your choosing (we prefer the pooper scooper penalty).
- Restore plastic furniture and repaint wood furniture. Clean chair padding and remove cobwebs from items that have been in storage
- Check the grill. Clean any residue off the grill top, make sure the propane is full, restock charcoal, check lighter fluids, etc.
- Clean patios! Sweep and set up furniture. Put up string lights for summer night get-togethers
- Take down animal feeders. Spring and summer months are when food is naturally abundant. Leaving food out discourages animals from doing their job in nature
Jobs involving pruning, mowers, weed whackers, or other sharp materials should be left to the adults. Compete against your spouse, or enjoy each other’s company and the fact that your kids are doing yard work.
Assign as necessary. There’s no good spin on pickin’ up poo, so this is best applied as a penalty. Whoever breaks the rules, does the least, shows poor sportsmanship, breaks rules, and whatever other terms you decide has to pick up X amount of poo.
How Did It Go?
Did you give these a try? Did you add your own chores and challenges? Tell us how it went on social media!