Assigning chores for your child to complete is one of the best lessons in responsibility that you as a parent can teach. There are things that children as young as one or two can do to serve as a ‘chore,’ and obviously older children aren’t as limited on what they can do to pitch in around the house. But, as you might expect, chores aren’t high atop the list of favorite things to do, especially when you are a rambunctious, action-packed kid with so much to do during the day. Chores are dreaded, no fun and certainly take time to complete. But they are also mandatory.
Involving your child with household chores as early as possible is always best. When they are taught young that there are things to be done, they tend to grow into mature young adults who understand the importance of completing these tasks. Trust me when I say you won’t want to deal with the attitude and the mouth of a 15-year old who hasn’t been taught these things already.
Even children who once acted as Mommy’s biggest helper can have a strong dislike for chores as he or she ages, but they’ll still have that understanding of what has to be done.
A few tips to keep in mind when assigning chores to your children.
Be consistent. There should be a day or time for chores to be completed by each day. Stick to this time frame to make it easier for everyone in the household.
Age-Specific Chores. There are chores that children of any age can complete. Be sure that you take age into consideration when assigning chores to your kids. For example, a 5-year old might not be able to wash the dishes just yet, but she can certainly help put them away while your 13-year old would fill the position of dishwasher perfectly.
Keep it Equal. If you have more than one child, make sure to keep things equal (and reduce the sibling rivalry that can drive you mad) when it comes to chores. Just one extra step could cause a meltdown, so don’t allow this to happen!
Offer Rewards. Rewarding children for completing chores is a good idea, according to most people. Children will learn that they can gain something of value when they do what they are asked while also having some cool cash of their own.
Set Consequences. just as rewards should be offered when chores are completed as they should be, there should also be consequences if they are not. This falls into the consistency category as well.
Give your Child Choices. If you want to make things easier for your child, offer them choices in their chores. For example, you could offer the choice of vacuuming the living room or dusting all of the wood in the house. Kids love options and will usually cooperate much better when given more than one way to do something.