Chores are a fantastic opportunity for children to share in the household work and to learn to use their hands, brains, and bodies to help others. When children take part in household chores, they feel needed and part of something. They build self-confidence and self-esteem when they feel they are contributing something concrete to the family. These learned skills carry over into other relationships outside of the family. The purposeful movement of washing dishes, sweeping the floor and folding clothes is a great way for children to get rid of excess energy and reduce stress. Here are six tips on introducing chores to your children.
1. Quality Time with a Parent
Especially when there is more than one child in the family, chore time can be personal time alone with a parent. One child can make lunches for school with you while the other can help Dad fold the laundry. Or, if you have three children, one can go out grocery shopping with a parent while the other two kids stay home cleaning the play area. Children look forward to this time alone and engaging with a parent.
2. Work When Your Child Has Energy
Everybody has a time of the day where they feel most alive. For some, that’s in the morning, and for others, that’s in the evening. Pushing your son or daughter to their chores after a long day at school might turn into a fight. But if they bounce out of bed quickly in the morning, they could easily find 15 minutes then to make their bed and feed the dog.
3. Adequate Training
Children learn better from doing household tasks alongside an expert and love the one-on-one time as mentioned before. As an added benefit, if you teach them how to clean a bathroom thoroughly, you won’t have extra work yourself!
4. Wear Comfortable Clothing
Add on a short amount of time to enable your child to change into loose-fitting, comfortable clothing for doing household tasks. They will also come to enjoy this part of the routine. Just like adults, kids enjoy wearing suitable attire that is lightweight and non-constricting for moving about the house.
5. Let Your Child Choose
Every child is more likely to take responsibility and follow through when they have some say in the matter. As long as they complete all the tasks, let your child choose what order they do their chores in and at what time of day. Some families sit together and decide what chores they’ll do for the week from a pack of “chore cards.” If your kids want to barter and swap tasks, let them, so long as everything is evenly distributed.
6. Maintain a Weekly Schedule
You’re not alone in having to ask your children to do chores or follow a chore chart—many children aren’t able to do chores without the guidance of a parent at first. The most important thing is to find a rhythm that works for your child. Make a schedule of what needs to be done, when it will be complete, and who will do it, and then stick to that schedule.
Be sure to choose age-appropriate chores that help rather than hinder you. When your children are three and four, turning off the lights and putting their toys away are good chores. By age fourteen, older siblings can babysit younger siblings, mow the lawn, and even purchase groceries in some cases.
We need children to help around the house, and children enjoy household work when introduced in a fun light. All children go at their own pace, but every child benefits from this hands-on and nurturing type of learning.