Any parent can attest that it’s often a struggle to have a child do a chore around the house. Children can come up with excuses, resistance, and refusal when it comes to chores. Parents believed that imposing chores upon their children instill responsibility and ensure they contribute to the effective running of the family home. Spain made news years ago when a law was enacted to require children to do their household chores. That is not the case in the United States, but as parents we can find new ways to engage our kids with the process, and perhaps even get them to enjoy doing their chores.
The best thing a parent can do to help ensure their kids do their chores is to start them as early as possible. For children ages 18 months to 3 years old, they can already pick up books and toys, put clothes in hamper, and help sort and load laundry. As they get older, chores can vary from emptying indoor trash cans, help set and clean the table, or even change bed sheets.
Do chores together
Children learn things from adults. Don't expect them to automatically do chores without appropriate guidance and help. Having someone to do chores with makes it more tolerable and a child is less likely to feel individually persecuted by housework.
Phrases like, "You are doing great!", "Well done on making your bed this morning!", or "You are getting better with your tasks!" are good for your children's self-esteem. Remember it is easier to get your kids to do something by praising the good things than reprimanding them after they make mistakes.
Establish a routine
Chores can become habits when they are done at the same time every day or every week. For example, after every meal have your kids put their dishes in the dishwasher. Make sure to be around and observe to make sure these routines happen.
Keep chores manageable and fun
The key here is to make it short. Do 15-20 minutes of tidying instead of having a marathon of cleaning. Put on a lively music and allow your children to choose cleaning tools they enjoy. Make it light-hearted so your child will be more willing to participate.
There are pros and cons when it comes to rewarding money upon the completion of chores. This is a personal call for some parents with experts weighing in on both sides. One of the benefits of giving monetary reward is that it teaches kids the connection between work and money. They learn that if they want something in life, they must work for it. The downside is that offering money for doing chores can also create the sense in children that everything they do should be rewarded.
House chores may not be glamorous but it's necessary, and knowing how to do it effectively is a life skill. Most importantly, parents should be convinced of the importance of chores in developing a child's character and that one way to love them is through teaching them responsibility.