Many people had to do chores when they were children–and many of us may have complained about them once or twice. But chores can teach children of all ages important lessons about responsibility, and they can be a big help in your household. Read on to learn more.
Before diving in to some of the positive effects that chores have on children, here is a brief breakdown of age-appropriate chores:
Ages 2 and 3: Consider toddlers this young to be your little helpers. Let them help you make their bed, clean up toys once they’re done playing or even hold the dustpan for you while you sweep.
Ages 4 and 5: Children generally feel good about contributing at this age. Allow them to set and clear off the dinner table, bring in the mail, and even make their bed on their own.
Ages 6 to 8: Assigning chores at this age can be tricky. Most children want to be a bit more independent versus being told what to do. To entice them a bit, consider setting up an allowance for any chores or tasks that they complete over and above their assigned chores. Some great chores for children this age include folding and putting away laundry, sweeping the floors, and assisting with taking out the trash.
Ages 9 to 12: You may encounter some resistance when assigning chores to children in this age group. Some experts suggest allowing your children to share their input on what chores they enjoy helping with, versus you parceling them out. Chore suggestions for children in this age range include loading and unloading the dishwasher, helping wash cars, running the vacuum and even helping with meals.
Teenagers: Most parents have certain expectations of their teenage children, such as cleaning their room, leaving their bathroom the way they found it, helping run errands or even mowing the lawn. Housework is important for teenagers because it not only teaches them the importance of contributing to a household, it also shows them how to adequately multitask, and even helps them be more self-sufficient.
Tips for Setting Chores
Chores give children an outlet to make a positive contribution to the family and household. They also promote discipline, enhance time and task management, and encourage responsibility. Keep the following things in mind when giving your children chores:
If you want things done a certain way, then do them yourself.
Instead of applying a lot of pressure, consider a more relaxed approach especially when children are younger. You obviously can’t expect an eight-year old to fold your laundry exactly the way that you would.
Give praise–and lots of it.
A little praise never hurt anyone! Giving praise and affirmation makes a child feel like a million dollars. According to WebMD, if you praise them along the way–and not just once the chore is complete–you’ll “build positive momentum, especially with young kids.”
Consistency is key.
Be diligent in making sure that your children’s chore routine does not get derailed. Blowing off chores shows that you’re not committed to this discipline. And if you’re not committed, then you can’t expect your children to be!
Make it manageable.
Don’t overwhelm your children with a task that seems unrealistic. Chores are not meant to bring about added stress. And be particularly mindful of the amount of chores that you expect your children to complete during a busy school night.
Give your children adequate time and ample reminders to get their chores done. Don’t assume that this is something that they’re on top of. One good way to do this is by purchasing and creating a chore chart and keeping it in a visible place. You can find some good ideas and examples at Amazon.com.
Giving chores to children is a win-win for parents and children alike. If this is not something that your household has established, 2013 may be the perfect time to start!