You have likely heard one parenting advice countless times: make your children do household chores. In fact, a Harvard study indicates the connection between doing chores as a child to growing up to be a successful individual.
But what to do if your children avoid helping around the house?
If you are a parent who could make use of the extra hands while doing the chores but absolutely struggles in convincing the children to participate, worry not! We have a pretty straightforward guide to getting your kids to do chores around the house.
What Household Chores Can Children Do?
Let’s begin by taking a look at what are some household chores that your children can help you with. Of course, the tasks need to be delegated to children after considering their age and any safety precautions that might be required. Here are the most common ones:
- Placing toys and books in place
- Folding and putting clothes in drawers
- Setting the dining table
- Washing and drying dishes
- Helping with the laundry
- Dusting and light cleaning
- Feeding and walking the pets
- Watering the plants
- Helping with cooking and grocery
- Taking out the trash
Benefits For Helping Around The House
Encouraging your children to participate in household chores can be beneficial for both them and you. Here are some of the significant advantages:
- A good bonding experience
- Stronger family values
- Gets work done quicker
- Teaches children to be responsible and independent
- Helps children acquire necessary skills
- Some time off for you as a parent
Tips For Getting Your Kids to Help With Chores
Let’s dive into the crux of the matter, which is how to actually make your children do the chores (without directly forcing or punishing them).
Communicate expectations and outcomes
Communication is definitely the key when it comes to a parent-and-child relationship. One of the initial steps (when it comes to parenting in general as well) is to effectively communicate to your children what the expectations and any possible outcomes would be. For instance, let your children know in a polite but firm manner that if they don’t tidy up their beds in the morning, then there will be a deduction in their monthly allowance.
Break it down
Some children may need help with doing an activity or may even avoid doing it if the task seems time-consuming or complicated to them. Thus it might be better to break a bigger chore into smaller tasks so that they are more achievable for the children. As your child ages, the level of complication for each chore can be adjusted accordingly. Assist them if you see them struggling to complete a given responsibility instead of belittling them, which can be highly demotivating for them.
Make sure that your children can really focus without any distractions when it’s time to do any particular chore. Most of the time, it is an electronic device that occupies the mind of your child. Instead of forbidding your child from something they love doing, for example, a video game (which is distracting them from chores), encourage them to complete the task first so they can have ample time for their favorite activity.
Make a Chore Schedule or Structure
Children do well when they follow a set routine that provides structure to their lives. Start by allocating time for any chores that you would like your child to help you with. It is a great idea to create a timetable or chore cards for children. It will help to keep track of the tasks that are completed and those that are still pending.
Children’s Chores Help Build Skills
While it may seem tempting to allocate multiple chores to your children, it is advisable to focus on ones that lead to developing skills that will help them as they grow up. Some excellent examples could be cooking simple meals, washing laundry, or even basic gardening techniques, which can be termed valuable ‘life skills.’
Build a reward system around the chores to encourage your children to do them. Though the idea has varied opinions and may be criticized by few, Dr. Lee, head of the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute, suggests it is similar to adults getting paid for working. Rewarding children, whether it is monetary or non-monetary, like screen time, provides an incentive to children when it comes to learning and doing chores.
Don’t Use Chores as Punishment
Many parents may make the mistake of using chores as a punishment for any ‘bad behaviors’ that their child may exhibit. However, doing so is likely to create a negative association with household chores in a child’s impressionable mind. Thus, they are more likely to avoid or rebel when you ask them to do one.
Make Chores Fun for Your Kids
An ideal way to make your children do the household chores happily is to make them exciting or interesting. Have quality time and consider it a bonding experience when doing chores together as a family, whether it is preparing dinner or cleaning out the garage. Here are some ways you can make chores fun for children.
Don’t Force Children if They Aren’t Feeling Up To It Sometimes
Just like yourself, your child may not feel up to doing a task or chore sometimes. Have patience, and don’t force them to do it if they don’t slack around usually. It is okay to let them off the hook sometimes if they are tired or just don’t feel like helping around much.