Get Kids to Do Chores with the Mayan Method

How to turn household chores into a lesson of responsibility and self-esteem

Many parents can relate to writer Michaeleen Doucleff's struggle when she says,

"Sometimes it seems like all that's standing between me and a clean house is my two-year-old, a master of destruction and mess-making."

In her time visiting the Yucatan for an NPR series, Doucleff observed what she calls the Mayan method, the practice of collaborating with your children to complete a task. 

Instead of trying to control children, or even excluding them from a chore altogether, parents aim to harness their children's love for being "helpers" into a collaborative effort.

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This way, when it comes to chores around the house, parents are able to work with their children to accomplish a common goal together, rather than waiting for nap time to get things done.

Doucleff tested out the Mayan method for herself with her two-year-old daughter and had this to say: 

"Such contributions are tiny - and don't really help me. But I can tell she is learning something golden: To love collaborative activities and working together."

Working with your children to complete a task may not speed up the process, but the sense of accomplishment and responsibility that results is incredibly important for your child's self-esteem. 

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Read more about Doucleff's experience, and how to try the Mayan method at home with your kids here

Liz Coffman

Liz Coffman

Liz Coffman has worked in the advertising industry for over 7 years and is passionate about connecting people to the world around them through her writing. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Liz is also a professional musician, avid rock climber, hiker and adventure seeker.

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