Most of us have some memory of doing chores as a kid. I can’t think of one of my childhood friends who actually enjoyed doing chores but we certainly enjoyed spending the allowance they brought in. I hated chores but luckily or unluckily for me my parents weren’t hard core about them so my brother and I could find ways around them. As a parent, I now recognize the importance of chores that I was blind to as a child.
What are chores?
Chores are any job that needs to get done. There is no specific list of chores although you will find many list of chores all around the internet and in books. Chores are just jobs that need to get done around the house to help the household run smoothly. Different families will have different chores. Different parents will have different chores. It comes down to what you need for your family.
Chores are not just for keeping the house tidy and running smoothly. Chores are a great way of teaching kids some valuable lessons that will help them through their school years and into adulthood. Below is a list of some of the great things chores teach children:
Chores help children develop skills–Young children especially can benefit from the skills required to do chores. Hand/eye co-ordination, fine motor skills, and problem solving to name a few. Older children can learn negotiation skills and time management.
Children learn to follow instructions – Chores are great at teaching children how to follow instructions. As they get older each new chore comes with new instructions. Learning how to follow verbal, written and visual methods is valuable once a child starts school. If they are already in school strengthening these skills is crucial.
Chores teach children responsibility – Kids are never too young to learn responsibility and chores are a great way to teach it. Children as young as 2-3 can start doing chores.
Chores teach life skills that carry into adulthood – The chores your children learn they will carry with them into adulthood. Learning how to cook, wash and put away clothes, tidy up and how to keep things organized are great skills for every adult male or female to have.
Are my kids too young for chores?
Children can start doing chores at around 2-3 years of age. They will need assistance and you can’t expect perfection but they are very capable of starting to do chores. Look at Chores for Kids of All Ages for a list of age appropriate chores.
Reward and consequence
When you hear chores you most likely think allowance. What has traditionally worked with chores is a reward system. I don’t have the same traditional view and you have to find what works for you. A reward system for the younger kids such as stickers or small treats is helpful. Allowance is the traditional reward. I like tying allowance to chores but not in the manner of do your chores and get an allowance system. For a look at how allowance can be done check out this great article on allowance.
Consequences are a must. Children need to learn to be responsible for themselves and to be a part of and contribute to the family unit. If you have nothing but a reward system, kids will forgo the reward at times. Children need to learn that not only do you not get the “reward” but there are consequences for not doing the chore. Chores shouldn’t be a choice but a requirement. That doesn’t mean you have to have severe consequences that will make kids hate chores but you need something. Consequences are your most powerful tool is a good look at how to use consequences effectively.
Once you have all of the above you put it all together into a system that works for your family. Following are some articles that will help you deal with each part of the system to help you find the one that works for you. Chores can be an important and valuable part of your children’s life. Forget how much you hated chores and start a system that will benefit your children forever.
As always – good luck!