Sometimes it’s hard enough to get our own stuff done each day, let alone find the time to set up and follow through with a chore schedule for our children! So is it really necessary to require them to perform household chores? Here are some of the benefits:
- Chores teach children to contribute in a meaningful way to the family functioning.
- Chores help children internalize basic work attitudes and habits including responsibility, initiation, reliability, persistence, and thoroughness. These skills are important for success in school and throughout their lives!
- Successfully completed chores provide a natural opportunity for parents to express their appreciation to children. This fosters children’s self-confidence and strengthens the parent-child bond, giving families a sense of mutual support and caring.
- Chores help children learn some basic independent living skills such as cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, and taking care of their things.
When is my child ready to start doing household chores?
As soon as children develop the physical and motor coordination necessary, they can start helping out with chores. Children as young as 3-years-old are both ready and highly motivated to imitate their parents and help out around the house!
How do we get started?
It is important to give your child chores that are appropriate for his or her age and skill level. In the beginning, you probably want to work closely with your child, doing the chores together. As your child grows older and more capable, you can let them work more independently. When children are first starting out they can begin with tasks that are short and simple, then gradually shift to more complex chores. Here’s what you can do:
- Demonstrate the task first, explaining why you do things a certain way.
- As your child starts learning the skill, offer lots of encouragement. It’s more important to recognize your child’s effort than to make sure they are doing the task perfectly.
- Offer opportunities for your child to practice the skill, making it a fun activity you do together.
Remember that even if your child’s work is barely adequate right now, he or she will be motivated to keep at it and improve over time if you give lots of positive encouragement. Praising children for their effort makes them feel proud and appreciated!
We invite you to comment and tell us how you introduced your child to household chores and what works well for your family!
Here are some other great blog posts related to kids and chores that you might enjoy checking out:
Keeping up with Housework & Everything Else by Powerful Mothering (Great for working moms!)
10 Lessons Children Can Learn From Doing Household Chores by Housekeeping.org