Getting children to help with chores doesn’t have to be such a… chore if kids learn to take part in routine household tasks at an early age. Chores teach kids responsibility and teamwork and there’s no reason to wait until they’re 7 or 8 years old. Here are a few ways to engage kids in basic household tasks.
- It’s all in the Attitude: Kids can be amazingly tuned in to the moods and attitudes of parents, good or bad. If parents feel chores are a hassle, children will feel the same way. Try to make chores something fun that—when well done—will contribute to the well-being of the child, the family and the home.
- It’s the List: When daily or weekly chores are written down and assigned to specific family members, it helps eliminate begging and bargaining. Lists should be specific, that is, “pick up toys in bedroom” and “put clothes in closet” rather than “clean your room.” Make sure everyone, adults and children, always follow through on their specific chores and change the chores around to eliminate boredom.
- The Right Chore for the Right Age: Kids can perform chores when very young as long as the tasks are age-appropriate and parents don’t expect perfection. Children between the ages of 2 and 3 can put toys away, feed pets, put clothes in a hamper, pile up books, and help dust. Five-year-olds can make their beds, empty wastebaskets, clear tables, help in the garden, fix a bowl of cereal, and wash plastic dishes. A seven-year-old can help pack school lunches, sweep floors, help with the laundry, set the table, and rake leaves.
- Cheer ‘Em On: You can never have too much praise or encouragement when it comes to chores. Cheer ‘em on from start to finish.