Getting children to do household chores - Part 2
There is always a debate on whether children should help around the house or not – with those being for them helping say that it teaches them so much, whereas those against the idea say let kids be kids for as long as they can be as childhood is short and should be full of fun. Where do you fall on this spectrum?
I personally am all for children helping around the house – it has so many benefits to everyone involved that I find it hard to really see why you wouldn’t get them doing a few bits at least, ensuring the balance is right between work and play of course!
Here are few suggestions as continuation from last week on how to get your children help in household chores:
A lot of parents (myself included) tend to wait until the kids are asleep/at school etc. until they get on with all the cleaning/cooking/washing etc. around the house. One day I realized a really important thing.
If children never see how much work and upkeep goes into running a house, how are they meant to learn how to do it themselves, and how are they meant to respect the house, their belongings, and you for doing it?
For all they know – a house fairy comes along and waves a magic wand, and it just basically looks after itself! If children can see (and get involved) in how much work is involved in running a house, then they will slowly and subconsciously become more aware of what mess they leave around, and how they contribute to the work involved.
For example – they are less likely to just bung all their clothes in the wash basket whether they are clean or not, if they are involved in getting the washing done, and they may be less likely to leave all their toys out if they are responsible for putting them all away at the end of the day.
It may take time, but learning what is involved in chores can really help a child to gain respect for the house, and for those who live there.
Expect a little resistance especially when it comes to cleaning up after somebody else. “But, I didn’t do it. He made the mess. Why do I have to clean it up?” Because everybody in the family will sometimes make a mess and being part of a family means you pitch in and help out whenever necessary.
It’s an essential learning about how to be part of a team. Sharing responsibility in a team is a life skill that can be learnt at a young age. Appreciate their efforts when they help out.
Teenagers need chores that will equip them with life skills that they will need as a young adult. Making a meal, doing the laundry, ironing clothes, washing dishes, making beds, running errands are all chores that a teenager can easily do.
Some parents choose to pay an allowance as a reward for the chores done. Others choose to keep the allowance separate from the basic chores and only pay for any special chores conducted.
Whatever the age of your child, the key is to be consistent. Decide on the chores that you would like your child to do, demonstrate how you would like it done and ensure that you follow through.
If you remind him one week and forget the next or accept his excuses for not doing the chores, he will realize that you don’t really care about the chores and will not put in any effort towards the same. If one sibling is naturally conscientious and does his work, while the other gets away with excuses, eventually both will stop pitching in.
* While the process of getting your child to do their chores is long and tiresome, keep an eye on the big picture. Once your child realizes that there is no getting out of it, he will accept the responsibility and albeit reluctantly, will do the chores. And you will be one step further in your objective of raising an independent, responsible adult.
(The author is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Arena, an e-learning company)