Research shows that involving kids in common household tasks from early age have long-term benefits. Kids learn compassion, values, as well as how to be more responsible and independent.
Many of us, while we were growing up, were helping our moms and dads around the house. So why are we so reluctant to let our kids help us?
We are always in a rush. There are just too many things we are trying to get done in a day and involving a child usually significantly slows us down. So now, in addition to finishing what we have to do, we also have to answer a million questions our kid might have while attempting to help us! And how many times we had to re-do the task ourselves because it just wasn’t up to our standards? I know I had to, all the while being busy doing other things. Frustrating!
We are not sure which tasks are appropriate for what age. The Internet is full of suggestions of what age you should start involving your kid in household activities. When we look at those suggestions, we immediately start feeling inadequate, “What?! She should have been helping me with this since she was 4?! She is 7 and I cannot trust her with that!”
Kids should enjoy their childhood. I hated doing chores when I was little! Many of us feel the need to protect our kids from anything and everything. Our kids should enjoy their childhood, play with toys, play with friends and just be worry free for as long as possible. Mommy will take care of everything! She always does!
Kids actually enjoy helping you, especially if you call them your “helpers”, according to research. They’ll gladly “help,” especially if they hear a lot of praise and not criticism. Involving your child in helping you do small daily chores is a great way to start. Kids love to hear that they are helping out and contributing to the family!
LET GO, things don’t have to be perfect. We just need to remember, that it took us years to perfect our skills in chopping, dusting, and washing dishes. They are just starting out, so accidents will happen, and that’s OK. The way the bed looks after my daughter makes it is very different from my son’s and that’s ok. I learned to refuse to strive for perfection and in the process get unnecessarily angry or frustrated. It took me a long time to get over that, but once I did, I noticed that having my kids doing chores with me is now a fun way to spend time together.
Use this time as a special time to bond with your child. Doing chores together is a great bonding experience for you and your kid. Try to involve your child in the kitchen while you are preparing a meal. Plan this in advance since you know that she will be very slow, probably sloppy; and accidents, spills, and cuts will happen. But if you approach these accidents in a positive and humorous way, not only will it boost your child’s self-esteem, but it also will create wonderful memories that you will cherish together.
In our family we love to cook breakfasts together. Everyone has a little task while preparing a meal, as well as cleaning up afterwards. Our son loves to cut fruit, while our daughter loves to arrange food on the plate. He loves to set the table, while she is excellent at cleaning up. I cook, while my husband makes coffee. We take pictures of our creations… sometimes (if we get to the plate before hubby or son devour it).
Make it a part of a family routine. Everyone in the family is a contributing member, even toddlers. The important thing to remember with toddlers is that some tasks might look overwhelming to them. So giving your toddler age appropriate chores, and then modeling, helping and guiding with how to do the task, will make it easier and less stressful. You can also involve your child in creating a simple daily chores chart. When kids know which responsibilities are theirs, they take ownership and pride in accomplishing them.
In our household everyone has their own responsibilities and since we all know what to expect of one another, there is very little arguments going on about who’s doing what. It doesn’t mean that the kids don’t need a few reminders now and then, or try to negotiate out of doing some chores but, nevertheless, things get done.
And remember, if chores become part of a consistent routine, they become a life-long habit.
Julia Berger is a mom of 2, certified positive discipline parent educator and a founder of Everyday Parenting. If you catch yourself yelling at your kids or struggling with your child’s anger, aggression or defiance, try our interactive, guided and digital Everyday Parenting Program. It’s based on the principals of positive parenting and will help you achieve successful results in as little as 4 weeks! So get the results you’ve been looking for, START you risk-free trial now!Back to blog list