Requiring children to complete household chores is a good way to instil the discipline and responsibility of a routine along with teaching respect for people, places and things. Your child won’t likely jump for joy when you assign household chores, but soon enough each will be just another part of the family schedule. Assign chores based on age and ability, demonstrate the correct way to complete each chore, require each child to complete daily and weekly chores, and show children how to work towards an ultimate goal as all chores are completed on time and to your satisfaction.
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Assigning Chores Based On Age and Ability
Assigning chores based on age and ability should be common sense. After all, you can only expect children to complete chores correctly if they are actually able to do so. Assigning children chores they won’t be able to complete not only guarantees the house going unclean or disorganised, but each failed attempt will leave children feeling incompetent and frustrated, will not contribute to any new skills mastery and will generally erode any positive attitudes they have had regarding housekeeping and personal responsibility. Wait for children to master each assigned chore before adding on another one, or asking more from that child and re-assigning the mastered chore to a child of a younger age or lower level of ability.
Demonstrating the Correct Way to Complete Each Chore
Once you’ve assigned chores to your children, take the time to walk each child through each chore and demonstrate the correct way to complete them. Don’t assume that just telling children to put away clothes will be enough, take the time to show them how to collect clothes, fold them and put them into their wardrobe or hang as necessary. Demonstrate each step required to successfully complete the chore and consider writing directions or using a “to do” list format for children likely to forget the order of the steps required to complete each chore. You may find, after a few attempts, that children get stuck on particular steps or always seem to complete steps out of order. Work together with your child to identify the problem and potential solutions so that the chores will still get done correctly.
Requiring Daily and Weekly Chores
When assigning chores to your children don’t be afraid to assign several all at once. Children can complete a number of daily chores including dressing themselves, putting away pyjamas, brushing their teeth, making their beds, picking up their bedrooms and playroom, helping to set or clear the table and putting used clothing in a hamper before bed. In addition to the daily activities, children of all ages can also complete larger and possibly more complex or time-consuming weekly chores. Sweeping or vacuuming a room, dusting, cleaning a bathroom, helping to wash windows or the family car, emptying rubbish bins around the house, learning to do laundry or cook/put together a meal and helping in the garden are all weekly chores that children can complete with little difficult and varying levels of supervision.
Working Towards an Ultimate Goal
As a parent the ultimate goal of getting your children to complete chores may be to have a more neat and clean home, but for children performing the same chores over and over again it will no doubt become monotonous and the boredom may obscure the reasons for doing them. Some parents like to link chores to an allowance so that children learn that hard work is reward (and that not working brings no rewards), while others like to keep track of their children’s chores and link them to points accumulating toward a family treat or prize. These tangible goals should help children recognise that working hard and taking responsibility brings its own rewards.
Very few children enjoy completing household chores, but maintaining a chore schedule should help instil discipline and responsibility in your household. Assigning chores based on age and ability, demonstrating the correct way to complete each chore, requiring daily and weekly chore completion and showing children how completing chores helps work toward an ultimate goal should help everyone master their chore schedules more successfully in your home.