Every parent’s dream is to raise capable, self-sufficient children that, as they grow older, learn to take the initiative, have a proper system of values established and understand the importance of independence.
For the most part, these qualities aren’t something they are born with; rather, they are instilled lessons they get to grow into as they mature.
In the perfect world, home chores would do themselves or we’d all have help to fall back onto; unfortunately, the world’s far from perfect and those dishes won’t do themselves. Although you may be thinking it’s too much for your kid to handle any of the home chores (we always see them as babies, no matter how old they are, don’t we?), think again.
They are perfectly capable individuals who aren’t helping out simply because… they don’t know how!
So, you teach them.
Here’s a little guide that we believe will make all the difference and help you (the parent) catch an occasional break while at the same time instill your kids with a few amazing value systems:
Come up with a chore system
Instead of just showing up one day and announcing they’ll be doing chores from now on, talk to your kids about what chores are and let them brainstorm about the type of chores they’d like to do/learn about. If they’re not that motivated themselves, then present them with a selection of age-appropriate chores to choose from. Next, be with them every step of the way until they master the skills they’ve chosen; you don’t want them to feel incompetent at any point.
Be patient and avoid (constant) criticism
Not that you don’t already know it but implementing any type of change or habit with kids will take a lot (and we mean A LOT) of patience! However, it’s all worth it in the end, we promise.
Set a time frame (we believe a month would do) for the kids to a) get on top of the chores b) learn to compromise with you c) learn to compromise with their siblings regarding their chores. Also, be okay with the fact that your house may just be a total mess during this time.
Refrain from criticizing them too much when they make a mistake to avoid frustration and further failing. Instead, approach any problem calmly and rationally.
For instance, instead of yelling that the bed isn’t made well (for the 10th time in a row), say something like “How about pulling the sheet tighter?” or “Let’s come up with a magic trick that will get this bed made in just a few minutes!”
The key not to overwhelm your children is to pick developmentally appropriate chores they’ll be able to master and excel at.
By assigning them with something they’re unable to fulfill, you’ll only be demoralizing and discouraging them. There simply have to be rules on what is to be done when.
For instance, if you’ve got a couple of kids who differ in age, assign them separate, age-appropriate chores.
Say one of your kids is aged 2-4 and the other 9-10. As for the first one, you’ll teach them to put their toys and books away, clean the spills and get dressed alone. Along with that, you should teach them to water the plants, dust, get undressed before bath time and brush teeth alone.
The older child will, for sure, have a set of more serious chores. Apart from mastering everything your younger child does, the older one should be able to make a meal for themselves, heat something in the oven or microwave and get themselves ready for going out without any help from you.
Further, they should find their way around buses and trains (along with reading transportation timetables) and know what to do if they are being met at the other end. Knowing how to vacuum clean and change the bedding goes without saying, too.
At this age, they should also be able to look after a pet – feed them, clean after them and walk them. You can even teach them how to order pet supplies online so that they can handle this task on their own as well.
Get creative but stay organized
To keep children interested, you need to be as creative as possible! The best way to have them engaged in chores actively is to create a “vision chore board” that’ll list all chores they are handling.
Divide the board into “to do” and “done” sectors; let the kids decide what they’ll do when and organize the chores.
Once the chores are completed, encourage the kids to tick them on the list one by one. This sure will give your kids a sense of accomplishment.