Kids And Chores

Kids benefit from chores by learning responsibility and establishing helpful habits. The life-lessons of chores will help them in the real world.

Young girl washing dishes

Dividing up household chores and getting them done is never easy, but experts agree that doing chores is good for kids. By nature, we all need to be needed. Kids need to feel that they are an important cog in the family wheel and by doing chores, they will learn that they are making a valuable contribution.

The benefits

Obviously benefit from kids helping out because they get help with the many chores to make things run smoothly in a household. But kids will also benefit from doing assigned chores. Chores are the best way to build a feeling of competence, help the child understand what needs to be done to run a household, establish good and helpful attitudes about work and teach them real world skills and life lessons that will eventually ease their transition into adulthood.

University professors have agreed that a lack of childhood responsibilities can influence a college students behaviour, and those students most at-risk for failure are typically those on whom no demands or expectations were placed throughout their early life.

Kids are able to handle some chores at an early age. Parents need to be realistic and not expect or insist on perfection at the outset. We often hold back too long because we want the children to be ready to perfectly perform a chore, forgetting that the learning is in the doing. Don't make a habit of redoing a child's chore to get it "just right" or you risk sending the signal that it wasn't done well... not a great way to build their confidence or ensure their cooperation. Keep nagging to a minimum, and ask the child to help. Children are more likely to respond positively to a request for their help, and show gratitude with a "thank you" when a job has been completed to the best of their ability. The biggest way parents trip up on kids' chores is through inconsistency. If your children are not expected to regularly follow through on their chores, they'll quickly learn to put them off in hopes that someone else will do them.

Chart chores

Create a chore chart with three columns: listing the chore, the deadline for completion and a place the child can check off when finished with their chore assignment. Chores can be daily or weekly depending on what works best for your family. Provide a wide berth on deadlines, but don't be held hostage to uncompleted tasks. If the dishwasher isn't emptied, the child who is assigned to load up dirty dishes can't begin their chore until it is. Some chores allow more flexibility while others should have a tighter timeline. Be specific on what is expected. "Clean your room" will mean one thing to you and quite possibly something entirely different to your child. Tell them exactly what you want: hang up clothes, put books back on the shelf, dishes in the kitchen and make the bed. Demonstrate for the child the first time and allow them to help you the next. Then have the child do it alone while you supervise or give gentle reminders. In most cases the child is ready to go solo on the chore at this point. Offer praise, particularly with younger kids, and don't wait until the chore is done to give them some well-placed kudos!

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