I realize the issue of chores for children is controversial. Some parents are in favor and some parents believe kids have more important things to do, such as homework and extracurricular activities. I come down on side of childhood chores because a growing body of research indicates just how beneficial they are for children. In fact, these benefits are exactly what Reflective Parenting aims to help parents provide for their child.
- Having chores as a child leads to children who have greater success and better life skills in the long run
- Children develop a healthy balance between achievement and caring about others
- By being a part of the task of taking care of the household a child becomes aware of the needs of others
- When children see themselves as necessary to the family, it fills that deep desire we all have to feel needed
- Children who help with family chores have a greater sense of obligation and connectedness to their parents
- This connection to parents enables them to deal better with life’s stressful moments
How being reflective will help you get your child to do their chores. If you are like most parents, you hate having to nag kids. And if your child is like most children, they are neither cheerful nor thankful about chores. But isn’t that the whole point of chores? Chores are about teaching the lesson that even if you don’t naturally feel like doing the chore, you do it because it is helpful towards others. If you reflect on yourself, you will realize there are chores you do in a grumpy manner and wouldn’t do unless someone else you live with needed you to. Reflective Parenting encourages parents to empathize and to realize that what their children feel is normal and understandable. Your child isn’t happy about doing the chore. You are not happy having to always make them do it. But you to do it anyway.
There is no magic formula that will make it easier to get your child do their chores. If you’re spending more time getting your child to do the chore than it would take to do it yourself, then you’re doing it right.
- It boils down to this: Insisting and Persisting.
- As with teaching any skill, you have to show your child what you want them to do, watch them do it, and help them to improve as they are learning
- It is recommended that allowance not be connected with doing chores. Some kids aren’t that motivated by money and will choose to skip the chores. Also, chores are about learning to be responsible towards others, not about the acquisition for yourself.
SOME GUIDING PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND:
- Accept no excuses. Don’t worry if you must repeat yourself again and again.
- Forget about children doing chores happily, without an attitude or without nagging. For quite a while the main goal is just doing the chore.
- Don’t expect perfection. Children will almost certainly not do the job to your standards without years of training, but children can and will do the work if you require it of them
- Start early. Even very young kids are more capable than you think.
- Be generous with praise. Be praising and encouraging during Praise and encourage the child while the chore is in progress.
- Be as consistent as possible When you don’t regularly follow through, your child learns to put it off and wait it out until someone else does it.
Written by Regina Pally: Founder and Co-Director of CRC)
For more on this subject, including research details and suggestions for age-appropriate chores: