As parents, we often second guess ourselves and wonder if we are doing it all right. Just the other day, I asked my son to help me wash the dishes but I started wondering, ‘isn’t this my or my husband’s responsibility’ or ‘shouldn’t I let my child just play and be a child rather than doing house chores’?
It’s a popular misconception that young children can’t or shouldn’t help out with household chores. On the contrary, children who do chores at home are more self-reliant, accountable and responsible. Participating in age-appropriate chores has been associated with social, emotional and academic benefits and it makes children feel more needed and valued. Here’s how to get started:
Be firm and consistent
Once children start getting bored of their assigned chores, they’ll come up with all the excuses in the book to back out from doing them. This is why is it’s important for you to be firm and let them know that everyone who lives in the household has to participate in doing chores and it’s not an option.
Assign age-appropriate chores
Are your children struggling to do their chores? Do they require lots of assistance from you? Perhaps the chores they’ve been assigned are too challenging for them and maybe they are not appropriate to do at this age which will of course cause resistance on their part. Make sure they are able to do what they are assigned even without your help.
Be clear and concise
Sometimes we get upset when our children don’t do things the way we want them but the fact of the matter is that many times, we parents are unclear when conveying our own expectations. Tell your children exactly what needs to be done and how it should be done as well. To avoid any conflicts and to make sure they learn something as well, be clear about your expectations and show them exactly how to tidy that room, wash those dishes or set that table so they can learn how to do it the right way.
Let them choose
What better way of letting them keep their autonomy and get things done than to let them choose exactly which chores they prefer to do. You can create a list of chores for the week and your child can pick and choose which ones he/she would like to do. This practice makes them feel more involved in household duties which will encourage them to help out more in the future.
Stick to a routine
Children do best when there is a routine to follow so why not involve chores in their daily schedules. Set up a daily time where everyone in the family has to help out with household chores as your child will also find it easier to follow when it is ingrained in their daily routines. For example, they can feed the dog before dinner or take out the trash right after snack time.