We don’t all love chores but they’re a necessary part of daily life. That’s why I decided to show my kids that helping out around the house doesn’t have to be a dull, boring burden. Besides, chores are a great way of helping kids build their independence and work ethic while teaching them responsibility as well as valuable life skills. All these are sure to come in handy as they grow into adulthood. The trick is to start them young.

Here are some fun chores that my kids love:

1. Preparing food
My kids love helping around the kitchen almost as much as they love eating. I showed them how to prepare some simple snacks and meals and now they do it by themselves. This not only saves me a ton of time but also helps them learn to make healthy food choices.

2. Feeding the pets
Pets are important in kids’ lives. In addition to providing enjoyment, they also help children learn to care about something other than themselves. I got my kids pets on condition that they would feed and take care of them. So far, they’ve kept their side of the bargain.

3. Working in the garden
Kids love playing in the dirt. Mine couldn’t believe it when I gave them their own garden patch. Together, we transformed our simple garden into a different kind of playground where they could plant whatever they wanted. I also taught them to identify weeds and they spend many happy hours pulling them, leaving me with healthier plants.

4. Washing the car
Water and soap suds—what could be more fun to a child? My kids like washing the car so much that they regularly try to convince me that it’s dirty.

5. Sweeping and vacuuming
My youngest daughter enjoys sweeping and vacuuming around the house. To make things easier for her, I got her a child-sized broom and vacuum and now my floors and carpets get cleaned frequently.

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6. Helping with the laundry
This has to be my younger son’s favorite job. He loves sorting the dirty laundry according to color then loading the machine, adding soap powder and starting it up. Being assigned that chore gives him a feeling of importance.

7. Mowing the lawn
My teen son, on the other hand, doesn’t mind mowing the lawn. In fact, it’s the only chore he voluntarily does. I suspect that’s because he gets to wear his headphones, blast music and ignore the rest of us for a while.

Allowing and encouraging my kids to help around the house showed me just how capable they are. Best of all, I get to have a clean, tidy home while my children enjoy their chores and learn valuable life skills in the process. What more can a parent ask for?