“Oh my little one is to little to manage to make his bed” or “my sweetie cannot put his toys away,because he is too young” or maybe “When he gets around 9-10 years old, I’ll sure make him do all the chores in the house” is expressions we usually use when we consider our youngsters for helpers
What do you think is the best age to start asking your kids to help with the house chores?
Let’s think it backwards. Is your child capable of playing a difficult computer game?Yes. Is it not obvious that he could as well easily function the dishwasher?
Child psychologist Carl Pickhardt advises to think of chores as household membership requirements. “So you explain to the child, ‘Look, it takes a lot of work to run this family, and Daddy works at it, and I work at it, and you can work at it, too, and make a really important contribution,’” he says. “And when they help, you immediately say, ‘Thank you! This makes a big difference.’By the time your kid is in preadolescence, being asked to help is an imposition — so you want to instill the habit of chores by the age of 3. “At that age, a child sees helping the parents as an act of power, as in, ‘I’m doing what my parents can do, and that feels good,’” he says. “It’s like when the kindergarten teacher asks who wants to help erase the chalkboard, and hands fly up all over the room.”
We also must emphasize with the “WE” rather than “ME” or “YOU” in the household chores. The child must understand that there are family rules, and one of them is to participate in the chores and help each other.
In my opinion,money should NOT be an incentive, because household is something one is supposed to anyway in his life.Richard Rende, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School says that “It’s about raising kids who will be successful in life and work, not just in their college application process,” he says. “They develop empathy, because they understand that someone might need their help. They learn about being industrious, and the importance of doing the ‘dirty jobs’ in life.”
So, how can we begin;
1.Create a list of every job in the family going.
Create a Chores chart, checking that everyone has an age-apripriate chore.(We’ll discuss this later)
2.Give a deadline for each chore and its frequency (every day?every week?once a month?)
Everybody must understand how urgent and important this chore is
3.Make a CHECK mark on the chart
Accomplishment is a great victory and checking across the chart makes it clearly visible.
4.Write specific instructions
Saying clean your room is not very clear, but if you analyse it to :put your clothes in the closet, your books in the shelf, and your dishes in the kitchen, it is much more comprehensive.
5.Show them HOW to
Sometimes a child might be hesitant to do a chore, because he is afraid that he will do it wrong. Or he just doesn’t know how to do it. A simple demonstration from us can resolve this situation easily.
You can use the consequence form when/then, eg. when have tided up your room, then you may come and play video game in the living room. Also there are applications in the smartphones which reward children for chores. I recently discovered one called “ChoreMonster”, although my daughter doesn’t approve it very much, because it is something new;and of course she doesn’t want the “dirty” jobs.
So what are age-appropriate chores?
Searching in the internet(webmd.com) and talking parents showed
Chores for children ages 2 to 3
- Put toys away
- Fill pet’s food dish
- Put clothes in basket
- Pile books and magazines
Chores for children ages 4 to 5Any of the above chores, plus:
- Make their bed
- Empty wastebaskets
- Bring in mail or newspaper
- Clear table
- Use hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
- Water flowers
- Unload utensils from dishwasher
- Wash plastic dishes at sink
- Fix bowl of cereal
Chores for children ages 6 to 7Any of the above chores, plus:
- Sort laundry
- Sweep floors
- Set and clear table
- Help make and pack lunch
- Weed and rake leaves
- Keep bedroom tidy
Chores for children ages 8 to 9Any of the above chores, plus:
- Load dishwasher
- Put away groceries
- Help make dinner
- Make own snacks
- Wash table after meals
- Put away own laundry
- Peel vegetables
- Cook simple foods, such as toast
- Mop floor
Chores for children ages 10 and older.Any of the above chores, plus:
- Unload dishwasher
- Fold laundry
- Clean bathroom
- Wash windows
- Wash car
- Cook simple meal with supervision
- Iron clothes
- Do laundry
- Baby-sit younger siblings (with adult in the home)
- Clean kitchen
- Change their bed sheets
What do you think?Have you convinced your little ones to be your little helpers?
I myself am in the beginning of this effort, and it seems that my litlle boy (6 y.o) is doing better than my little girl (8yo), which is resisting more in this new situation.PATIENCE is my secret weapon. We’ll sonn find out who will win this game!