Do your kids have chores? Despite our natural instincts, our biggest job as mothers isn’t to do everything for our children. In fact, the most pivotal role we can play is to teach and empower our kids to do things confidently on their own.
When it comes to household chores, it may feel easier to do it all yourself. However, in the long-run you will be left feeling burned out and your children will be at a disadvantage in mastering independence and responsibility. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Children who do chores may exhibit higher self-esteem, be more responsible, and be better equipped to deal with frustration, adversity, and delayed gratification. These skills can lead to greater success in school, work, and relationships.”
Introducing Kids Chores
Children at any age can begin helping around the house. Start by including them, modeling the task, and then allowing them to help in a safe way. For example, if you are loading the dishwasher, show your toddler how to put the silverware in the utensil compartments (this is also a fantastic fine motor skill!). Or when putting away laundry, teach them to fold washcloths, pair socks, and put away clothes in their drawers.
When assigning chores to your children, consider the child’s age and what is appropriate for them developmentally. The below chart can be utilized for some ideas for kids chores to get you started.
Household responsibilities should be a family affair. Sit down with your family and allow your children to have a voice in how they would like to contribute. Take this time to discuss the importance of being a team to make the household run smoothly. This is also a great time to educate them on things such as cleanliness, expectations, and the corresponding reward system.
A reward system can vary depending on family preferences. Some choose to incorporate a monetary allowance, while others prefer rewarding with a special treat such as a new toy or a family ice cream outing.
In my home, we have a responsibility chart to give our five year old a visual reminder he can mark off each day. We also incorporate a $5 allowance each week based on how well he has completed his chores.
I’ve found that the key to success is to steer clear of any negative talk for things that were forgotten. Instead I praise him for the things he did well. I also avoid making chores a punishment because doing so will cause children to associate household responsibilities as a negative experience. As a result of our gentle approach and positive reinforcement, my son is independent and enthusiastic when completing his responsibilities.
Make it fun
Making household chores a fun experience is the best way to engage your children. My one year old loves helping mommy vacuum by using his very own vacuum toy. You can also try playing music and dancing around while you clean or making it a race to put toys away. By starting small and making it a fun family activity, my children have grown to love their chores.