How to Involve Your Kids in Doing Household Chores
The division of household chores is one of the common sources of disagreements within families. The in and outside of the house need maintenance everyday. Chores involving the different parts of the house also differ weekly. Children are naturally not mindful of the responsibilities in taking care of the house. Their lives are focused primarily on school, friends, and popular things. How can you make the kids part of chore assignments? It begins in the sharing of daily chores between husband and wife. It is a way of setting good example and the stepping stone to encourage your children to get involved.
There are many benefits of doing household chores. However, it is somewhat a norm that women do everything around the house but this is slowly changing as women are also pursuing their careers. Meanwhile, men tend to be lazy at doing chores but this does not mean this perception cannot be changed. When men assume new roles as a husband or a father, they become aware of the added responsibilities and try to get hold of doing simple tasks like washing the dishes or cleaning the garage.
Throughout the stages of married and family life, situations are likely to change and rearrangement of chores assignments may happen. This can lead to quarrels and misunderstandings. Here are a few tips to compromise the idea of handling chores between you and your partner:
- Sit down with your partner and list the things the two of you have to accomplish daily, weekly, and monthly. After completing the list, decide who does what task.
- Treat housework as a simple way of demonstrating love for your partner and family.
- Acknowledge your spouse’s field of expertise when it comes to chores. If your husband is good at mowing the lawn, then designate this task to him.
- Consider accomplishments of tasks as beneficial to the whole family and not as a solo endeavor.
- Don’t be to pushy with your partner. Remember that as an adult, he or she will eventually realize that he needs to take part in running the house.
Chores for Each Age Group
After settling the division of household chores with your partner, it is now time to get your kids involved. Children as young as two years old can already assist in doing chores. In case you are not sure what tasks to assign to each of your child (especially if they belong to different age brackets), go online and browse through the many chore charts available. Print one and stick it on the fridge or corkboard where everyone in the family can read it at the start of the day. Children often learn faster when an act is demonstrated. It is better to show first how the task is done and observe how your child does it at a first try. See which action can be improved and explain gently to your child why you have to correct him or her. Here’s a rundown of age-appropriate household tasks:
Chores for toddlers
These chores are suitable for children ages 2 to 4. It is still important to supervise toddlers when doing these tasks. It is also not advisable to assign chores that involve sharp objects, cleaning agents, and other chemicals. Make sure that your child is not allergic to dust or pollens when letting them work around the house.
- Pile books and other reading materials
- Gathering toys in one place
- Putting pet food on a bowl or in the aquarium
- Pulling weeds and gathering dried leaves in the garden
- Watering the plants
- Putting soiled clothes in the hamper
Chores for kids
Why children should do chores? Gradeschoolers age 5 to 9 can be assigned with chores that involve a little decision-making. They also understand the concept of glassware which are breakable and it must be moved carefully to avoid any accidents.
- Fixing their beddings
- Folding clean clothes and placing the in the closet
- Fixing simple breakfast like a bowl of cereal or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Loading and unloading utensils and plates from the dishwasher
- Sorting laundry
- Wiping spilled liquids
- Set plates for family’s lunch and dinner
- Take pet for a walk around the neighborhood
- Getting the newspaper from the yard
- Cleaning the pet’s cage or litter box
Chores for teenagers
Both teeners and teenagers (age 10 to 19) can assume more complicated chores and errands. At this age, it is better to teach them the concept of juggling academic and nonacademic tasks. In this way, they will learn how to be independent and be able to do most things on their own:
- Make own breakfast and snacks
- Set and fix tables before and after meals
- Do the laundry
- Wash the dishes
- Clean the bathroom
- Cook simple dishes for family’s lunch or dinner
- Wash the car
- Vacuum and mop the floors
- Babysit younger siblings when needed
- Little gardening in the yard
- Emptying the waste cans and placing the trash bags into bins
- Mowing the lawn
- Do the grocery
- Help younger siblings in their homework
- Simple cleaning of the family’s swimming pool
The Reward System
What do the experts say about giving allowance to children in exchange of doing household chores? It is not recommended.
The purpose of assigning chores to the kids is to teach them to be responsible and independent and not to earn money. They will eventually need to learn how to work to earn an income but this is different from doing chores. Giving monetary reward is also not the method to teach children how to handle money on their own.
This scheme will likely lead to a negative impression to younger kids. They might be motivated to work because of money and not the sincere effort to simply get praises from mom and dad. This can also teach them to be dependent on material things at an early age.
However, adjustment can be made for older children. Some teenages ages 13 to 19 may need extra cash for school projects and small amounts from doing chores can help.
One alternative to encourage kids to move and accomplish chores is a point system. Here is how it works:
- Revise the chore chart a bit and assign a point to each chore. A simple chore like piling the scattered books can equal to one point while more time-consuming tasks such as putting the plates into the dishwasher can be worth three to five points. Post this on your family message board so everyone can check on point values of tasks easily.
- Set some rules like it is requirement to accomplish both minor and major tasks or there is a minimum total of points that needs to attain by the end of week. These directives can help the children strategize which tasks that when done can contribute to more points. They will also have control over their time and the effort they will devote in completing a task.
- To have your children something to look forward to every week, designate different prizes for the total point values. Prizes can range from objects like art supplies, stickers, or books to something special like a trip to an ice cream parlor, a ticket to see movie, or your child’s own wish. You can also customize prizes depending on the season like when it is Christmas, summer or school opening.
How to Make Doing Chores Around the House Enjoyable
How do chores teach responsibility? Children see household chores as boring and “things mommy does”. You and your partner have already established a point system, so what’s next? The next step is to inject a few more fun and surprises to draw the kids to continue doing chores:
- Create certificates like “Most Industrious” or “Most Hardworking” and hand it over to your children by the end of the week. Set up a corkboard, pick a best worker every week, and post your child’s photo on this space.
- Each of your kid can have a chore booklet where he or she can receive a stamp or sticker of approval whenever he or she accomplishes a chore. This booklet can also be decorated and the outstanding design can receive the “Most Creative Award”.
- You can also install a small bundy clock in the house and let the children experience of putting time cards into this machine to commence their work. Children feel confident when they imitate things adults do at work.
- Teach your toddler to compile his or her toy after playtime by drawing a circle on the floor and instruct the kid to put the toys inside the circle only.
- Boost your children’s creativity by letting them design old socks to become dust mitts. Put a rack where the kids can hang these mittens. In this way, no need to use name tags and they would know each one’s mitten depending on the design.
- Have the girls wear special aprons or let the boys have customized vests that can serve as their uniforms. Children often love the idea of pretending to dress up and do jobs like adults.
- Devote one night to talk to your gradeschoolers, teeners, or teenagers about the experience of helping around the house. Give them the freedom to share their thoughts and feelings. This will give parents the perspective on the children’s approach on particular tasks.
- Record short videos and take photos to document these everyday activities of your children. It will be a fun event when the family reminisces these moments.
Parents must not be too strict when teaching their children the importance of knowing how to do household chores. It is better to use a relaxed approach then explaining the chores to the children. They will be motivated to help around the house when there is no one nagging them. An effective chore scheme at home is when children have the initiated to do the chores.
Make sure to build a positive environment while the child is on working on a chore. Praise the kid once you see there is progress. In this way, he or she will relate doing chore to something favorable. This prevents the child from accomplishing the chore the sake of finishing it. Toddlers during formative years learn more quickly. Take advantage of this and introduce simple chores at an early stage. Never underestimate your child’s capabilities when it comes to doing housework.
Training children to appreciate helping in the chores requires consistency. Be understanding when they don’t get it at the first try and be patient when they become cranky at the start. Keep encouraging and teaching your children.
It is also good to meet up with other parents or relatives and learn a thing or two about how they get their children to do chores.
What if You Have a Househelp?
There will come a time that you and your partner will still consider getting a househelp. The busy days at work plus taking care of their family take much time and it is sometimes good to have someone to assist the parents. However, this should not stop you from motivating your children to try their hands doing on household chores.
To be able to continue on your children’s training on the handling the chores, advise your househelp to leave out the tasks that are included the children’s chore chart.
You can also explain to your children the purpose of employing a househelp. Set the limit that a househelp is only present to do the complex tasks in the kitchen or to take care of the younger siblings.
Parents can refer to chore time as “tidy up time”. Allot about 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 after dinner for your children to complete the day’s tasks. On weekends, tidy-up can take about an hour or more.
The whole family can follow this simple rule: when the parents are busy with household chores, the children should get on their feet, too. This is the perfect way to encourage to take part in the running the house. And you know what? Your children can adapt this practice and try it on their own offsprings when the time comes.
If the all the members work at the same time, it means there will be a plenty of time later for everyone to relax and unwind.