Chores for Children: Big Benefits in a Job Well Done

Do your kids help clean up after dinner or walk the dog? If yes, bravo – give yourself (and them!) a pat on the back.  If not, it’s time to implement a set of chores for your kids to take on.  Even toddlers can help

Chores are so great for a child’s development and a wonderful lesson on responsibility.  Here are some benefits to delegating chores:

Develops Responsibility

Responsibility is one of the most important things parents can pass on to their child.  It’s the foundation for becoming an independent person.  Doing chores around the house and knowing that there are tasks that have to be done helps children learn how to take care of themselves and others – especially if some of those chores involve taking care of pets or plants.  Make watering your geraniums or feeding the dog your kid’s job – they’ll easily see the consequences of not fulfilling the task, and the benefits of doing it regularly and on time. Plus, they’ll feel like a real big kid when they’re given the duty of taking care of another living thing.

Strengthens Feelings of Self-Esteem

Kids learn through imitation. Especially when they’re young, they will often follow their parents around the house to see what they are doing.  When they’re allowed to do some of the chores their parents do around the house – and find that they do it well – this instills strong feelings of self-esteem and self-worth.  It’s also a way to help kids feel as though they are an important part of the family unit and are working with other family members for a common cause. Giving them lots of positive feedback as they work strengthens these feelings of accomplishment.

Keeps Kids Active

Depending on the task, chores can get kids active. It might not seem like much, but walking the dog, watering the garden, or even helping parents to dust or vacuum is another way to help keep them away from the computer or the television set.  Small amounts of activity throughout the day can help prevent your child from being sedentary.

Consider making the chores both active and fun! Play music during work time so they can boogie while vacuuming the rug.  Go with them while they walk the dog and talk about the day.  Making chores into a fun activity or family time will make your kids more cooperative.

Builds Good Skills for the Future

From dusting to making scrambled eggs, having kids help out around the house gives them great skills that they will need when they set up a household of their own.  Home economics classes are being cut from the curriculum all across the country – so it is more important than ever that kids learn some domestic skills as they grow up.  They don’t have to be an Emeril in the kitchen, but knowing some basic cooking techniques can really help when they move out on their own!

Creates More Family Time

As your kids get older and become more adept at their chores, this extra help really makes the household less hectic. If the whole family helps to clear away dishes from the table, for instance, this will give you more time to go for a walk in the park or set up a family game night. You’ll have more bonding time, even on a work or school night. Once kids realize that doing chores actually gives them more free time, they will be more likely to get on board with it. 

Guidelines for Setting Up Chores

Here are some tips to stay organized and keep your kid on task when it comes to chores:

  • If possible, start kids out doing chores at a very young age. We’re not talking about child labor here! But even toddlers can hold on to a dustpan while a parent sweeps or help empty the mop bucket into the kitchen garden. This will get them into the habit of helping out around the house.  Chores can be added in an age-appropriate way, as children grow.
  • Sit down with your kids and talk about some of the different chores that need to be done around the house.  Work with them to come up with a list of tasks they need to be responsible for each day. 
  • Set up a calendar in the kitchen that lists the chores your child needs to do each day.  Children can cross each chore off as they do it, so that you both keep track of what tasks are complete.
  • Bedrooms can be a major source of parent-child friction! Have a list of bedroom chores you expect your child to do on a poster on the back of their bedroom door. This poster can remind them, for example, to have their toys picked up and their dirty laundry in the hamper.
  • Whatever the task you have set, praise them when they have done a good job.
  • To reinforce good behavior, have chores tied to an award system. For instance, at the end of the week, if they have done their chores well without complaints, they can stay up a little later on the weekend or have friends over for dinner.  You can even have several awards available that your child can pick from.
  • Don’t use chores as a form of punishment. This will lead kids to have a negative association with work around the house and it will likely make them less willing to help.  It is okay, though, to delay rewards.  For instance, let them know that they are not allowed to go outside and play on Saturday morning until they have made their beds and picked up their toys.

Let’s be frank – getting kids to do chores can be a hassle at first. It might seem sometimes like it is easier to give in and do the work yourself.  But if you stick with it and have a clear system of rewards and punishments, kids will get into the habit of doing their assigned tasks.  This will only help them to be responsible and they will pick up skills which will benefit them as they grow.

Which household chores have you assigned to your kids? Share your stories with us in the comments below!

Tags : life lessons   chores   responsibility   toddlers   home   

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