An important part of parenting is teaching your kids how to be a contributing member of society. One important way they contribute in the home is through chores. No matter their age, there are ways your children can help out around the house.
How do you encourage your kids to help with chores? Of course the tasks they’re given should vary based on age and capabilities, but there are some overall principles that apply no matter what age they are:
Make Time to Talk. If you’ve asked your son or daughter to do chores and they aren’t doing them, stop what you’re doing, turn off distractions and talk to them about it. Find out what’s going on in their head and help motivate them to get their work done first so they can spend time choosing what they do later. Spend this time in a discussion as opposed to lecturing your child about their responsibilities or duties.
Set a Timer and Lay Out Consequences. Just like most adults, a lot of kids need a deadline or they won’t get it done. Tell them they have 20 minutes and make sure they know there are consequences for not getting it done or benefits for following through, such as less video game time.
Keep Chores Separate From Punishment. Discipline is important, and you need to set consequences for your kids’ actions, but giving your child chores as a punishment ties those two together.
Give Them a Choice. Talk to them about when they’ll get their chores done, and give them some choices when it comes to the timing. For example, give them the option to clean their room before or after their bath, or let them choose if they mow the lawn after school or on the weekend. This communicates the chore is important and needs to be done, but gives them the independence to choose the timing for themselves.
Work Together. Many hands make light work, especially when it comes to certain chores, like folding laundry, making beds or cooking dinner. Have your kids do these tasks with you. In addition to lightening the load, it gives you quality time to talk about their day at school or anything that’s come up with their friends.
How do chores work in your family? What principles have you found that work well for your kids?
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography