Why chores are good for kids
Encouraging our kids to do jobs around the house is not only a big help for parents, but also an important part of our children’s personal development.
Our children are born dependent on us for survival. As they grow up, they become capable of doing a great many more tasks for themselves. Sometimes however, we still find ourselves doing too much fetching and picking up toys. At some point, children must learn to help out around the home. Not just for us time-poor parents, but also for their own development.
Life is busy and while it’s quicker to pack away toys yourself instead of insisting your child do it, this only make for a resentful parent. Making new rules can be met with resistance, but it’s worth the effort because sharing the load can be good for everyone.
Children as young as two years can start to do simple tasks like helping to pack up toys, or dusting the skirting boards – the perfect height for toddlers! It may be inconsistent but it’s a way to start showing them how they're able to contribute.
What sort of jobs?
Start your kids off with simple jobs like throwing dirty clothes in the wash basket or tidying their bedroom. Eventually move on to activities like vacuuming, unstacking the dishwasher or clearing the dinner table. Make up a roster and vary jobs so kids won’t tire of the same task.
The fun factor
Mary Poppins knew exactly how to turn a boring task into a game. While we don’t have her magical talents, we can still find the fun. Time your child while tidying their bedroom and see if they can break their record the next day. Imaginary play can also help. Maybe the broom has special flying powers or the vacuum is a lightsaber.
Let it go
As a parent, take the time to include your children in jobs. It’s important to let go and not worry about how well or how quickly the job is completed. Encourage your child to help, allowing them to feel a sense of achievement.
Rewards can encourage children to continue doing chores. It might be as simple as a cuddle or words of praise. Perhaps it’s pocket money, which not only encourages children to continue, but also teaches them the value of money.
Tick the boxes
Reward systems can be fantastic for increasing your child’s enthusiasm. Focus on one task and give your child a star or a tick each day they complete it. A certain number of ticks may result in a special treat, toy or outing. This can work well as children love the thrill of gaining yet another star.
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Encouraging children to do jobs can help them develop a sense of responsibility and independence. Putting toys in a basket may not seem like much, but it shows what it means to be part of a family and it encourages excellent habits for future life.