For generations children have helped around the house: cutting grass, mopping floors, making beds, doing laundry, sweeping, washing cars, or other family duties designed to keep the household running smoothly.
There is nothing more satisfying than a job well done; chores provide that feeling not only to adults but also to children. Children love to slide around a wet floor on towels giggling and laughing all the while giving your floor that sparkly clean look. Almost every child at some stage in their little life has offered to help mom with dinner or help dad wash the car. Children love to help. Children need to know that they have an important role to play in the family.
What are the benefits of chores for children? How do parents create an environment where children will do their chores? What chores do you give your children? These are all valid and important questions which this article will answer.
Benefits of Chores
For the most part, housework is easier done by yourself and for good reason, you know how you like your house cleaned and its hard work to teach children how to do chores. If you use a regular maid service in Cleveland, these tips may help you space out your regular cleanings as well! However the benefits for by letting your children help around the house you have less work to do (added bonus). Chores increase a child’s sense of belonging and self-esteem. They teach children how to be organized and clean – tidying up the bedroom, packing clothes away, cleaning the floors.
Chores help children with their fine-motor and gross-motor skills as they learn to pull out weeds, spice food, cut vegetables.
Chores build a sense of team and belonging for children. Everyone in the family has their role to play. Some chores that can be done with a parent provides opportunities for parents and children to engage with each other catching up on the day and where the child is at. This can be especially true when children help cook meals or work in the garden. Often children feel less intimidated to talk during chores than a sit-down conversation.
Chores teach children delayed gratification and commitment teaching them to follow through on a task which increases their self-esteem and confidence. It’s the old saying work then play. Children learn new skills and the satisfaction that comes when they have conquered their hurdles. This in turn gives a sense of self-pride; look at what I accomplished.
Chores prepare children for adult life as they know they will be able to learn new skills, look after themselves, and approach life with confidence and healthy coping skills. There is no fear of hard work because children have learnt that hard work pays off.
Children gain purpose and social understanding as they do chores for the benefit of others and the whole family unit. This teaches children to think beyond themselves. Suddenly the world is bigger and they have a role to play in making the world a better place.
Creating a Chore Happy Environment
Ease into chores. Gauge your child’s developmental and physical abilities and assign chores accordingly. Some children are ready for more responsibility than others. The age of your child is also important since it will guide you to those age appropriate chores.
Chores can be started from a very young age until the child leaves home. Little toddlers under two years can have the simple chore of putting a few stray toys into their box. As your child gets older he/she can take on more chores. It is important to keep your expectations realistic. It is unfair to expect a three year old to put his/her clothes perfectly in the draw, a task that a five or six year old will be able to accomplish.
Avoid perfection. Children regularly do not complete chores to their parent’s standard. The goal is not perfection it is family, unity, and teamwork. As your child learns a task, break the task down into stages. For example, a three year will make a bed with mom who may spread the blankets neatly whilst the child arranges pillows and stuffed toys. As the child grows mom can move him onto pillows, stuffed toys and helping with the blankets. By age five the child will be able to make his bed by himself however the blankets may still be a bit ruffled. By age ten the child should be able to make his bed to mom’s standards until mom sees the wrinkled sheet underneath the blanket. At adolescence the child will be making a bed smoothly including putting on sheets, blankets, pillows, etc. Bite size chunks help you and your child complete tasks with ease and less fuss.
As you start your child on their chores, praise him/her for his/her efforts. This affirms your child letting him/her know that their efforts have been seen and appreciated. Don’t hold back on the affirmation; the more a child feels seen and accomplished in his task the more he will do it and want to learn, an opportunity for additional chores.
Chores should not be used as a form of punishment for inappropriate behavior, instead chores should be an integrated part of everyday family life. This keeps routine consistent with the result of children regularly doing chores and subconsciously reaping the benefits.
Chores are a family responsibility not a job that one gets paid for. Most experts discourage chores as a way to earn an allowance especially for younger children. Younger children often have a different motivator to chores than earning money. Their motivator could be ice cream, a small toy, a biscuit, extra TV time, or some other small thing. This is where chore charts become useful. However older children can do extra chores for added money to their allowance since they already understand the value of money. For older children extra chores for money can teach them delayed gratification, hard work and saving (important life skills).
Below are a few age-appropriate chores for children. These are a few ideas to get you started. With time you will be able to make your own list of chores tailor-made for your children and household.
The only thing little toddlers can help with is picking up a few toys and putting them in their box. Alternatively little one can put the toys thrown out the bath back into the bath. Lots of praise and kisses works well to affirm him.
• Help make bed
• Clean up their spilled milk, water, or juice
• Put dirty laundry in the hamper
• Take plate to the kitchen sink
• Help throw garbage away
• Wash plastic dishes and cutlery (no sharp knives)
• Pack away toys
• Pack away clothes
• Set and clear the table
• Basic washing of dishes
• Make bed
• Carry light groceries
• Help pack groceries away
• Help with dinner
• Clean up room
• Wash toilets, sinks, and bath
• Vacuum and mop floors
• Empty indoor trash
• Fold and pack away clothes
• Do laundry
• Wash the car
• Prepare easy meals
• Basic housework
• Basic gardening (raking leaves, watering plants, etc…)
• Feed pets
• Change light bulbs
• Iron clothes
• Baby sitting
• Change bedding
• Wash car
• Wash windows
• Pack and unpack the dishwasher
Family is the first place that children learn societal expectations and behavior. Given the many benefits that chores bring it makes sense to incorporate them into family life. Chores prepare children for adulthood in multiple ways from self-reliance to teamwork to delayed-gratification. They maintain the sense of family unit deepening the relational bonds between its members. By keeping chores age appropriate you and your children will be able to complete your household tasks smoothly. Keep it light. Look for opportunities to have fun even if you need to mop the floor while dancing together with your child.
We wish you and your children all the best as you tackle your household cleaning responsibilities together. May you find the benefits worth the work.
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