Chores for Children
Many parents require their children to complete household chores. Not only are these chores an effective means of teaching children discipline and responsibility but they help children grow as well. Among other things, chores teach children life skills, personal care and time management. Of course, children don’t usually naturally embrace chores but parents can do much to motivate them to tackle assigned tasks.
Assigning Age Appropriate ChoresThe chores that parents assign to their children should be such that children have the skills to complete them. Assigning chores that are too challenging is almost guaranteed to result in frustration, anger and possibly even outright refusal from the children to attempt them. On the other hand, chores that are too easy don’t require anything of children so they don’t learn anything new or develop their skills and boredom will likely set in. According to their age and development levels, many parents ask their children to:
- Set the table before meals.
- Wash dishes or load and unload the dishwasher after dinner.
- Sort their dirty laundry.
- Fold and put away clean laundry.
- Make their beds and/or change their sheets.
- Wake, shower and dress themselves.
- Sweep the floors (usually just a room or two).
Motivating Children to Complete ChoresChildren often feel put upon when they are asked to complete chores, as if they are the only family member doing “work” or that they are doing tasks that someone else (usually a parent) should be doing instead. Parents can motivate their children to overcome their reluctance to complete chores in a variety of ways.
At a most basic level, parents should not ask children to do chores if they themselves are not willing to do similar tasks. Instead, parents should ensure that everyone in the family consistently completes chores that contribute to the good of the household. When children do complete chores, parents should recognise their contributions with praise. Many parents also find that rewarding children slightly inspires children to do their chores. Small allowances and “points” to be spent on an hour’s later bedtime on the weekends or similar privileges often work well with children and can be modified to work with older children and teenagers as well.
Keeping Chores BearableIt might be a stretch to think that chores will ever be fun, but they certainly can be bearable if approached in the right way. Parents should attempt to keep chores lively for their children, and often even simple things like allowing the radio to play, encouraging children to tell each other stories, and singing nursery rhymes or sing along songs can make all the difference between mundane tasks and family fun time. Using chore time to connect with children individually is also a good idea for parents whose busy schedules might otherwise cut down on quality time with each child.
Occasionally the chore wars will rage in every household, but if parents assign chores based on their children’s skills, praise their children for completed chores and use chore time for fun or bonding activities then chores for children needn’t be a battleground every day. As they mature and develop, children will likely see their personal growth in the chores that they can accomplish so discussing personal preferences and skills with older children will help everyone sort through the household chores with minimal fuss.