Ok, I confess. On more than one occasion I decided it was just easier to do a job myself than deal with a kid who didn’t want to run the vacuum or empty the dishwasher. She was busy or tired or just not interested. Never mind that I was also busy or tired or not interested. I think this is one of the biggest obstacles for including children in household chores. They resist and we end up doing the task ourselves because it’s easier. Then we end up feeling like everyone’s personal maid and being resentful.
So how can we get out of this trap? An important piece is to remember that we are teaching life skills. By having realistic expectations and providing guidance, we can get there. One really good rule of thumb is “don’t do things for children they can do for themselves.” Let me give you an example. When a child is young we dress him and tie his shoes. As soon as he is capable we teach him how to dress himself and applaud his efforts to tie his own shoes. The same thinking applies to household tasks. We make the bed for babies and toddlers. But once she can climb in and out of her own bed, she can begin to put the pillow in place and pull up the covers. If we teach children how to do something and continue to offer support, we are on the way to raising responsible kids who can take care of themselves.
Check out Inspire Children to Help with Chores for more practical tips.
GREAT QUESTION! How about right now?!
If you look up Children and Chores at www.extension.org you will find several different articles on children helping with household chores. And guess what? They can start right now helping with all kinds of things. Even toddlers LOVE helping to put socks in the basket or towels in the drawer.
Allowing children to help around the house gives them hands on experiences for learning as well as a feeling of independence and responsibility.
It is important to share with the child how you want the task done, let the child do it and then DON’T re-do when they are done. Did you catch that? It’s OK that there is a wrinkle in the blanket or the fork is upside down. Let them know how proud you are of the work they did and keep modeling the way you would like it done eventually. Remember, you probably had a wrinkle in your bed at that age as well.
What are some chores that you have your children helping with? Share with us!
Today my 2nd grandson moved into his college dorm. He is excited about starting this new chapter in his life. His parents are sad about him leaving home but hoping he will adjust and do well. And as for Grandma, I’m thinking, “Can he take care of himself? You might be wondering what’s that got to do with kids and chores.
Actually the connection is pretty clear. Kids who grow up doing chores around the house learn several important things.
- contribute to the family
- sense of empathy
- how to take care of themselves
Let’s think about this a little more. Kids learn that it takes the whole family to keep a household going. The laundry, cooking, cleaning, repairs, shopping, yardwork, etc. don’t happen by magic. Bud starts to appreciate how Mom feels when someone makes a mess in a room he just cleaned. Nicole understands how long it takes Dad to mow the yard each week. The kids learn the importance of completing assigned chores – correctly and on time. Being responsible carries over into school work and eventually the work world.
Now back to my grandson. If Mom and Dad did their job well (which they did) my grandson knows how to keep his room clean, handle his laundry, and fix his meals. By teaching your kids how to do basic home chores, you are preparing them for that day when they will be on their own.