Tired? Worn through from the household grind of shopping, cooking, chasing the cat and keeping the house tidy? Only to discover an enormous child-caused-mess the second you turn your back? Then why not get your kids to help you out?
Saving you time, while teaching them empathy, and some good ol’ fashioned discipline and responsibility, chores are the best introduction you can give your kids to the world of work. Great for their development, chores teach the important skills they’ll need to become productive independent adults – from teamwork to time management, to respecting the boss!
Instilling responsibility and confidence
Letting them know what you expect, chores are a sign to your kids that you trust them and value their contributions; boosting their confidence. Giving them that first taste of responsibility and independence (for young kids who just want to be big and grown up this is a huge step!), you should encourage and praise them for completing tasks to a set standard to develop their sense of pride – never allow them to just rush tasks through!
Developing a sense of monetary value and work ethics
If you give your kids any form of pocket money or allowance, chores are great for encouraging them to earn it, developing their sense of monetary worth through hard work, and hopefully instilling in them a sense that what they’ve earned is valuable – so to budget and save! But while monetary motivation can be the first step to success for budding entrepreneurs, try not to cash incentivise too much. It’s just as important that kids develop a sense of satisfaction from ‘a job well done’ because it needs to be, not just because there’s a reward.
Increasing appreciation and empathy, while helping you out
If your kids don’t understand the hard work you put into household chores, how can you expect them to respect the results? Let kids know it’s not ‘the laundry fairy’ who folds their socks by making them do it themselves! You’ll be surprised at how quickly they start to respect, and carefully put away that neat pile of washing!
Teaching kids appreciation and empathy, this helps them respect and understand the reasons why you want them to help out. Most kids will be very caring and motivated if they can see a reason for chores – even with tasks they don’t really like – empowering you as a parent and saving everyone time for more fun things!
Asserting family power balance and discipline
“Come on kids – you’re a part of the family too!” Hand-in-hand with helping you out, chore routines and expectation sets a pattern of ‘helping out others’ for life – you’re creating individuals who know how to work well as part of a team! How? Well by encouraging kids to help out through chores, you’re cementing a sense of belonging. Chore contributions encourage the idea that “we’re in this together” and make work ‘fair’ – a great motivator on the days they’re really trying to avoid their chores!
Teaching time management and control
Time management is not easy for kids to learn. Their sense of time is different to that of an adults, so even the smallest of tasks for younger children can seem like years of hard slog! But by making chores enjoyable and age-appropriate you can improve their concentration and organization, and teach them to manage a basic schedule – get them to finish their homework, and do their chores while leaving enough time for something fun.
Instilling that “chores must be done before you have fun” mentality also helps develop kids’ understanding of priority and consequence for work not done: “If you don’t tidy your room by dinnertime you can’t go out and play”.
Making it interesting
So chores are a good thing! But in order for your kids to benefit (and not end up hating them) you need to make them fun – at least to begin with and while they’re very young! So channel your inner Mary Poppins and make the job a game by playing music, completing tasks together, and incentivizing!
Always praise for work well done, and use choice to help kids feel free – “Would you like to sweep the path before or after lunch?” Do this and you’ll not only raise productive little optimists with good work habits, but should find household work gets done much quicker!
Lucy is a freelance writer and blogger on family issues. She provided this article on behalf of Bundles of Joy a business which sells quality baby gifts. Click here to find out more about our new baby gifts, christening gifts and many other presents for a special new arrival!