Chores 101 ~ The Why, How, and Hacks!
Chores play an important role in building our children’s independence and self-confidence in their ability to do daily life tasks, but there are always so many questions when it comes to chores no matter how old your child is. When to start them? How much do we require them to do? What do we require them to do? Do they get paid/receive an allowance for their chores? How do we get them to actually DO the chores? What do we do when they won’t do chores? The questions just go on and on, so here are my mom hacks for working with your kiddos on building their responsibility and teamwork with chores.
Steps for Introducing Chores To Our Children
1. Don’t under estimate how much your little ones can do. As soon as they start walking, start working together doing household chores throughout your day. Make sure to show them how to do what you’re doing because they won’t know exactly what to do until you teach them.
2. Model doing your own chores in front of your children. This lets them see that doing chores is part of being a member of the family. They also will pick up on your attitude about chores, so be positive!
3. Don’t criticize the quality of your kids chores. They need encouragement for their effort; precision comes as our littles grow up and gain better understanding and control.
4. Give them a choice. Don’t try to force them to do it now. You can give them the option to do it now or do it in 5 minutes. Or give them the option of choosing their chore, do you want to feed the dog or unload the silverware?
5. Be consistent!
6. PRAISE them! Encourage them!
7. Give them age appropriate chores
8. Be specific in your directions ~ especially with toddlers
Daily Responsibilities VS. Chores
Something we have to decide as parents is what are the daily responsibilities we expect from our children and what do we consider chores? The difference is responsibilities are the basics~ what we expect from our children as members of the family while chores are the extras~ things we reward them for. This can and will look different for every family. While responsibilities are an expectation for being a member of the family, chores can be used as motivation to earn extra money or privileges as well. There is no 100% right way to view chores and you have to find what works best for your family dynamic.
If we teach our children how to do all the things needed to run a household it shows them how to be a contributing member of the family and society as a whole. In the long run it makes them happier and more successful (even though maybe not in the moment). It also helps build respectful, responsible, and motivated kids if we navigate this part of parenting without nagging or payment. It gives them a sense of purpose, of being valued, and needed by the family. Our kids have a need to belong and contribute and chores are a great way to get them involved.
What do you do when they don’t do their chores?
1. Use the “Toy Bermuda Triangle” ~ if toys are left out, put them in “toy jail” then when you kids notice it’s gone ask them what they are going to do to earn it back? This shows them that there are consequences for not following through on their responsibilities and has them go above and beyond the minimum expectation to earn back things that are important to them.
2. If you have older children another version of the “toy jail” is to do the chore for them without nagging, but ask them how they are going to repay you for your time. This teaches them to do their chores without reminders. It also shows that your time is valuable and they aren’t able to take it for granted.
For a starting place on what chores should my kids do by age check out below!
These are just a starting place and can be adjusted by your own individual child’s ability and it give you the opportunity to empower them as they master new skills!