Chores are slowly becoming a thing of the past for this generation’s children, but you might want to revive the chore chart before it is too late.
Today’s kids are playing two sports, learning two languages, and studying for standardized tests. But with their schedule’s so busy, are less parents requesting their children complete household chores? Many of us grew up walking the dog and taking out the trash. Regardless of how much we despised these tasks, they taught us valuable things like time management and responsibility—two things that came in handy during college and early adulthood.
Why are Chores Important?
A 2014 Braun Research study found that 82 percent of adults reported completing chores when they were growing up, but only 28 percent reported having their children complete similar tasks. Are these children missing out on important skills learned through various chores? We want our kids to find success in everything they do, and for years chores have proven to be an aid in predicting that success. In her article “Why Children Need Chores”, Jennifer Breheny Wallace links a number of benefits like stronger relationships, self-sufficiency, empathy, and earlier career success. And children who begin these chores at an earlier age are that much more equipped.
Giving each child in your home a different, yet specific, set of responsibilities will help them feel valuable and help them understand how each family member is important in keeping a happy house. Creating manageable tasks for each age group will help the chores from being daunting or seeming “too hard” or “too long”.
For this young age group it is important to keep the chores fun and active. You can race your child to complete the chore or play a game during the chore. Until the young child gets comfortable with completing chores on his/her own, do them together. Parent and child will each have their own responsibilities but the thought of helping mom or dad is usually fun for a young child.
- Put toys away
- Stack books
- Wipecounter tops before and after a meal (with help)
- Water flowers (with help)
Children in this age group might benefit from incentives. Start off small with things like treats and work your way up to allowance—maybe a quarter per chore completed. Position the chores as something that must get done on a daily basis, something that you cannot do without their help.
- Get the mail
- Put clothes in the hamper
- Put groceries away
- Put the dishes away
- Put shoes away
By now your child should understand the importance of completing chores. They may be more reluctant now because they rather spend time with their friends, but the chores must be done before anything else.
- Wash dishes
- Take out the garbage and recycling
- Walk the dog
- Put clothes away
- Mop floor
Your teens need to understand the importance of completing their daily and weekly chores. You can make it part of their morning wake up routine or their nightly routine. This will help the chores seem less demanding and position them as a part of maintaining a home.
- Clean bathrooms
- Tidy up rooms (fold blankets, fluff pillows)
- Fold Clothes
- Change bed sheets
There are some guidelines that you can follow to make completing chores easier for you and your children.
- Don’t insist on your child doing it your way – after the first couple of times you complete the chore with them, allow them to create their own method. They will respect that the chore must get done, but they will do it in the way that makes most sense to them. The way our parents do things may not necessarily be the way we would do things.
- Give praise – this is important before, during and after your child completes a chore. Tell them you need their help with the chore because they did such a good job last time. Check on them in the middle of completing the chore and tell them how well they are doing. After the chore is completed let them know how well they did and express how impressed you are.
- Be consistent – The trick to keeping your kids completing their chores every week is consistency. Do not let them off the hook from completing a chore. If they skip one chore they might see what else they can skip or wait for someone else to complete it for them. Stress the importance of completing the same chores every week so that it becomes a standard for their routine. You can post a chore chart to make it more fun and to hold each child accountable to each task. Have them check off their completed chores each day.
It is never too early to start giving your children chores. Start out with small manageable tasks that you can help them with. Over time they will understand the importance of the chores they complete and will learn valuable life skills. Research suggests, children who grow up completing chores are generally more successful than those who did not have chores—and as parents isn’t that what we all want for our children?