Find out why you should get your children to do their much-dreaded chores and how you can make it fun for them — and for you!
Chores can be defined as a routine task — one that may be unpleasant but obligatory. Among the most common chores that we all end up doing sooner or later, are household chores. From washing greasy dishes, taking out stinky rubbish to sweeping and mopping dusty floors, household chores are no fun for most people but like it or not, they still need to be done.
You may have accepted the fact that you can’t avoid doing chores but how about your kids? As a loving parent, it is only natural that you want the best for your children. You’d like them to spend their time on worthwhile activities such as learning to play a musical instrument, improving their grades at school or practicing their favourite sport. This is why you send them for tuition classes, extra-curricular activities and so on. There’s a good chance that household chores are the last thing you would want your child to ‘waste’ his time on. If this sounds like you, what you’re about to discover may change your mind.
It’s a win-win
Giving your children the opportunity to get involved with household chores provides a win-win situation for both parents and children. By encouraging children to do chores, parents benefit from being able to:
- Divide household work and lighten the burden on any single family member.
- Have a tighter bond with your child as you do chores together
- Raise a disciplined and responsible child
Children can reap the benefits of doing household chores too. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, in 2002, professor from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Marty Rossmann, conducted a study on 84 children, across four phases of their lives. The study focused on the preschool years, the next stage to come under scrutiny was when the children were around the age of 10, then 15 and in finally when they reached their 20s.
At the end of the study, it was found that young adults who began chores at three and four years of age were more likely to have a good relationship with family and friends, to do well, academically, enjoy early career success and to be self-sufficient compared to those who didn’t do chores or only started at a later age.
So, it is never too early to get your toddler involved with household chores. From doing family chores such as cleaning the living room to personal chores such as making his bed, there is a suitable chore for every child. Here’s a list of age appropriate household chores and how to make them fun.
Not too sure about an appropriate chore for your child? Here’s a guide.
Ages two and three
- Pick up toys with your supervision
- Assist in making the bed such as arranging the pillows
- Put dirty laundry in the basket
- Fill a pet’s water bowl
Ages four and five
- Get dressed with minimal help from parents
- Set the dining table with adult supervision
- Match socks from the clean pile of laundry
- Be responsible for filling pet’s food and water bowl
Ages six and seven
- Mop the floor
- Vacuum the floor
- Make the bed everyday
- Help prepare food
Ages eight to twelve
- Wash the dishes
- Wash the car with adult supervision
- Clean the bathroom
- Put all laundry away with supervision
Making chores fun
Now that you know the type of chores that are appropriate for your child, it’s time to take the next step. To encourage your child to be involved with household chores think about ways to make those chores fun.
Whatever happens, never discourage your child by using chores as a form of punishment when he misbehaves. When your child receives the message that chores equal punishment, he naturally concludes that chores are not fun. This also applies if you constantly complain about chores yourself. This will give your child a negative impression. Instead, keep it neutral and be positive about it. You can start by teaching your child that doing chores is part of caring for the family. It is not a dreadful job but something that helps a family live safely, happily and comfortably.
When you play a video game, you need to complete one level of difficulty before proceeding to the next level. This concept continues until you achieve your goal in the game. Now, apply this concept as a way to encourage your child to be consistent with his household chores. Take doing the laundry, for instance.
Do you recall that time where you wished you could use the washing machine and press all those cool buttons? Well, your child will most probably be as eager as you were to handle a washing machine. So, implement this by challenging your child. Start by asking your child to sort the laundry and once your child has mastered that, you can gradually teach your child to use the washing machine and eventually do his own laundry.
When it is time for chores, explore your child’s imagination and create a fun play scene. If it is time to prepare dinner, get your child into the kitchen and give him the opportunity to be a chef. Let him decide what he would like to prepare for dinner and if you have two children or more at home, give them each, a role. For example, one child could be a ‘DJ’ whereby he would be in charge of the type of music to play during food preparation and another could be in charge of food decoration. Other ways to role play include imagining you’re robots when picking up the laundry or fighting an alien invasion when clearing up the toys.
If your child is old enough to understand what responsibility is, allow your child some autonomy. Use phrases such as “it would be helpful if you could…” This way, it gives your child the confidence to help out, know that he plays an important role in the family and stay motivated to take on and finish tasks. One example is to assign your child to feed the family pet at allocated times of the day.
As you can see, household chores can be fun with a little bit of creativity and imagination. So, think again before you ask your child to skip chores and do his homework instead. Make household chores a fun habit and raise a socially responsible and successful child.