Written by: Yolanda Pineda
It is often debated whether children should take the responsibility of completing chores around the house. Some argue that chores take away the freedom of childhood; that it robs children of the liberty that can be expressed when you are young.
Now, what if I were to tell you that chores can increase a child’s confidence, trains a child to be independent, teaches life skills, and implements both responsibility and respect. Chores overall build character, lessen entitlement, and generally help kids prepare for the real world.
Pros of chores:
Confidence and Independence:
When a parent assigns a task to a child according to their competency, that opens the door for a child to feel good when they complete the task. They become aware that they can accomplish different things which not only increases their confidence, but it pushes them to be more independent.
It becomes evident that after a while of a child helping around the house, the child will feel more than okay with completing tasks on his/her own as well as becomes interested in helping with other challenging tasks.
The young motivated helpers of today are the achievers of tomorrow!
Responsibility and Accountability:
In assigning chores to everyone in the household, a parent implements both responsibility and accountability. When you make sure that the child knows what to do and how it gets done, it makes the child aware that the chore is on them and that if it doesn’t get done, well, it won’t get done. That chore is their responsibility and just as they must complete their task so does everyone else in the household. Everyone works together to accomplish the main goal. This mimics the real world in the sense that sometimes you need to work together as a team (team building) to accomplish a goal. Children will acquire the knowledge that they are being held accountable.
Work Ethic and Achievement:
Because they are being accounted for something and are expected in getting it done, they will take pride in their work to showcase. In the end, this will cause for the child to take value in their work which increases the wellness of their work ethic. As the child grows confident, and their work is being acknowledged, they will feel a sense of achievement in knowing they are contributing to their home and loved ones.
Respect and Discipline:
With time, in completing the chores at home, the child will understand the value of not only their work but also of others and in doing so the child will respect the work of others. They will understand the meaning of respect, and of course discipline.
What matters the most is how the parent presents and executes the greatness behind the chore. Parents’ behaviors impact a child immensely.
What to avoid:
Don’t insist on perfection. No one is perfect, and it’s better to have a more relaxed approach to avoid undermining the work your child is completing.
Don’t delay. You might think your child is too young. That may not be the case, it is always great to challenge and stimulate a child’s mind without making it too difficult.
Don’t be stingy with praise. Implement praise and encouragement while the child is completing the chore. You want to make sure to build motivation as well as build positive momentum.
Don’t be inconsistent. Regularly complete chores so that they don’t try to fall out of completing tasks later.
Make a Chores Chart
Try creating a chores chart! It is such a great and wonderful way to stay organized and make sure that everyone in the house has something to contribute. Create a list of every job it takes to keep a family going, have the kids pick out the chores they’d most like to do. Then create a chart.
Always make sure that everyone has an age-appropriate chore. Then divide the chart into three columns. The first column is for the list of chores and whose chore it is; another column for the deadlines; and the last column is for the check mark when the chore is done. Once all set up, the chart can be placed anywhere that everyone can see it and let everyone follow through on their own assignments.
→Be specific with instructions. Especially with the younger kids. It is important to let them know what exactly must be done to accomplish a certain task. Example: “Clean your room” that can be a little vague. Explain a little more in what needs to be done to have a clean room.
→Ease into the chores. Take your time in showing them how to do the chore step by step. Then follow with letting your child help you do it. Then take the time to supervise the child as they do the chore. Once they have mastered it and feels comfortable then it is okay to let them go solo.
→Go easy with reminders and deadlines. Try using the “when/then” technique. For example, say, “When the table is set, then you may have your dinner.” Also, within doing this don’t punish them if something hasn’t been done yet but try to discipline instead.
Should an allowance be given for chores?
Chores are there to teach responsibility and to learn about different tasks. Money isn’t the focus. There is an exception on older kids. For those that know how to be a little more responsible, money can be used as a little motivator for doing a little extra than the norm. The reason for this is because when
trying to implement money for the younger ones, they can possibly lose all motivation and just stop doing chores overall.
Age-Appropriate Chores for Children
Keep in mind that your child may be able to do more than you think. Just think. Kids are into complicated puzzles and computer games. If they are capable of understanding that, they can follow through with certain tasks around the house.
Preschoolers can handle one or two simple one-step or two-step jobs and while older children can manage more.
Chores by age group:
→Put toys away
→Fill pet’s food dish
→Put clothes in hamper
→Wipe up spills
→Pile books and magazines
→Set the table for meals.
→Help with preparing meals, under supervision.
→Help put clean clothes into piles for each family member, ready to fold.
→Help with grocery shopping and putting away groceries.
→Hand you wet clothes to be hung out to dry.
→Set and clear table
→Help make and pack lunch
→Weed and rake leaves
→Keep bedroom tidy
→Clean the bathroom sink, wipe down kitchen benches, mop floors or take out rubbish.
→Help hang out clothes and fold washing.
→Put away crockery and cutlery.
→Help with choosing meals and shopping.
→Help with meal preparation and serving, under supervision
→Assist in household projects/repairs (painting, etc.)
→Clean the bathroom.
→Cut flowers and make a centerpiece.
→Do chores without a reminder.
→Do more difficult cleaning projects (scrubbing kitchen floor, windows)
→Do simple ironing.
→Empty garbage pails in the house.
→Feeding baby and younger siblings
→Get own snacks
→Help others with their work when asked.
→Help prepare simple meals.
→Help rearrange furniture. Help plan the layout.
→Help wash the car.
→Help with defrosting and cleaning the refrigerator.
→Increased responsibilities for younger siblings (dressing infants/toddlers, entertaining them for longer periods, helping with school work)
→Learn to wash dishes independently.
→Make more complex meals/snacks (pour and make tea, coffee, and instant drinks, beginning meal planning).
→More difficult cleaning projects (scrubbing floors, etc.)
→Operate the washer and dryer.
→Polish silverware, copper, or brass items.
→Put away groceries
→Put siblings to bed and dress them.
→Simple first aid.
→Take care of younger siblings with a parent at home.
→Wash and dry dishes or load/unload dishwasher.