Angie's List: How can I get my kids more involved in housework?

By Diana Crandall
Angie’s List

As we’re all spending more time at home, we’re adjusting to a new way of life and developing new routines. And if you have kids at home, you may be thinking of ways to create more structure in their days. Involving your family in housework is a way to use this time to teach valuable life skills and encourage teamwork — and to keep your home tidy and organized.

Spending more time at home, we can teach valuable home skills in the laundry room, the kitchen and the outdoors.

Tackle dirty dishes head-on.

More meals at home means more dishes to clean. Depending on the age of your children, they may already know how to rinse their plates, place them in the dishwasher and run the cycle. If not, now is a chance to learn. You can also teach your children to clear and wipe down the table and countertops. And, having them help to hand-wash, dry and put away dishes can emphasize the upsides of working together as well.

Take chores outside.

As we’re heading into spring, make some time for fresh air and move housework outside. Older children can assist with more complex jobs, like mowing the lawn or trimming bushes and hedges. And younger children can help with watering the garden, weeding or repotting plants. You can also teach your kids about how to stay safe while working outside, highlighting the importance of simple things like applying sunscreen and staying hydrated.

Organize and donate.

If your home could use some decluttering, now’s a good time to involve your kids in the process. Focus on one room, or one area of a room, at a time. Designate separate bags or boxes for items you can give away, recycle or throw away. Depending on how old your kids are, you can set limits for the number of toys, clothes or other items they can keep. When you’re finished, check whether any local charitable organizations are accepting donations. If there’s nowhere to take them now, stow them away in the garage or storage room until it operations resume in your area.

Conquer the laundry room.

Stay ahead of overflowing hampers with help from your kids. Toddlers enjoy finding matching socks and sorting colors; and grade-school children can help to fold clothes and towels and put clean clothes where they belong. If your child is ready, you can teach them about labels and washing instructions, as well as the different settings on the washing machine. Teens can also assist with the ironing.

Teach house cleaning and sanitizing basics.

As the situation around the world continues to evolve, many families are having discussions about the importance of hand-washing and social distancing. This is also a good time to talk about the importance of house cleaning. Having your children help disinfect frequently touched areas like doorknobs, light switches, and faucet and toilet handles every day will keep them mindful. You can also use this opportunity to teach the basics of house cleaning, like which types of cleansers to use on which surfaces, and the overall importance of tidying up the home.

Diana Crandall is a reporter for Angie’s List, a provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit