By: Krystle Crossman
Do you make your child do chores around the house or do you do all of them? If you let your children sit back and relax while you are taking care of all of the housework you are not only putting more work on yourself but you are doing your kids a disservice as well. Chores are a type of discipline and behavior management system.
Giving children responsibilities teaches them how to take care of things when they are older and out on their own. Remember that friend in college that had no idea how to do her own laundry so she went home every weekend to have her mom do it? She probably never had to do any chores when she was younger. Chores should be given to children early on; as early as age 4, and then the chores should become more involved as they grow.
Preschool aged children: Simple chores are best for these kids. It can be as easy as picking toys up after themselves, putting their laundry in the laundry basket when they are dirty, and putting their dishes in the appropriate place when they are done with them at meal time. This will help them to see that if they make a mess, they need to clean it up. If your child has trouble remembering to do their chores you can make a picture or a sticker chart and put it where they can easily see it to help them out.
School age children: As they grow older children’s chores should become more involved. When they are still young you can have them put away their shoes and backpacks properly when they get home and continue with having them pick up after themselves. You can also give them a responsibility such as feeding a pet every night, taking the dog out for a walk with you when they get home from school or loading and unloading the dishwasher. Make sure that you praise them for doing a great job.
Tweens: Now you can start having your children help out with the bigger chores such as sweeping or vacuuming the floors, doing the dishes, and helping with the laundry. Implement a reward system for them. It may seem like bribery but it is actually a great motivator. Eventually they will do the chores without putting up a fight. If a child doesn’t do their chore or refuses to do it, don’t bother fighting, just make sure that you don’t allow them to have their reward. The better the reward the more inclined they will be to do their chores.
Teenagers: Teenagers can be sloppy and seemingly lazy. It is all a part of growing up and having a busy social life, however they still need to be responsible and have chores like everyone else. At this point they can do anything that you can do such as cleaning the bathrooms from top to bottom, doing the dishes by themselves, taking the dog out, cleaning their rooms, and doing other projects around the house. The best motivator for teens is money. Give them an allowance for doing their chores. No work -no money. They will learn quickly that the harder they work, the more they can earn. It is also a great way to teach them that if they want to buy something they have to work to earn the money for it and then they can buy it if they truly want to.