Get Your Child to Help Out Around the House
Chores make kids responsible
As a toddler, your child may have been be eager to help you with everything, even when you did not want the help! Now that same toddler is older and is far less excited about helping out around the house and has her own busy schedule of extracurricular activities, homework, and friends. Although your child may not be thrilled about doing chores, giving her the responsibility will build her self-confidence and remind her that she is a contributing member of your family.
Tips for getting your child to chip in
- Make sure the chores you have your child do are safe and age-appropriate. If you would like your child to do a chore alone, make sure that is possible. For example, do not send a young child to take the trash outside by herself. If your young child cannot complete a chore by herself, you can do it together to help her learn until he is able to do it alone.
- Start young. Starting from when your child is in preschool, give him easy chores to do to get him in the habit of helping out and being responsible. For example, your 5 year-old can help clear the table, or even put away his own clothes.
- Make your expectations clear and acknowledge hard work. Given that the purpose of chores is to help your child gain self-confidence, you want to make sure your child feels like she was successful in completing her chores. Try not to be too hard to please, or your child will be far less likely to want to help out in the future. Let your child know when the chore needs to be completed by, acknowledge that she has competed it, and let her know you appreciate her help by saying thank you. Try to avoid money as a reward for chores. Some children receive allowance each week or each month, but it is best not to make this a payment for chores done as children may begin to feel entitled to payment for any favor you ask of them, and the other values in doing chores might be lost. An occasional pizza or movie night at the end of the week or month to celebrate might be a good way to acknowledge chores being done.
- Make a family chore list. This will serve as a reminder to everyone of responsibilities, it will help your child know what is expected, and it can also be satisfying for him to ‘check off’ the chore when it has been completed. Mixing in a new and different chore once and a while can help keep your child interested in helping out. If you have more than one child, you could try rotating the chores on a regular schedule so each child is doing different chores each week. Also, try not to assign chores based on gender stereotypes. Anyone can help out with loading the dishwasher or taking out the trash.
This information was compiled by Sunindia Bhalla, and reviewed by the Program Staff of The Children’s Trust.