Advice Column, Child, Toddler, Tween & Teen Advice

Chores And Responsibilities- Getting Your Kids To Clean

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Getting children to do their chores is not about making our lives easier but it is about encouraging cooperation and responsibility. Our children were given tasks to do from when they were little. It started off with putting their toys away after playing and taking their plates and cups to the kitchen. They now make the beds, keep their rooms tidy and ensure that their clothes and bags are ready for school the next day.

How do you get your children to do their part though, without putting up a fight? Here are some tips for getting your kids involved:

Start early. Parents should try giving their children household responsibilities when they are young. They can begin to help you with small chores like keeping their books tidy on the shelf or putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Most toddlers love to help their parents. Parents should take advantage of this desire and give their children small and simple tasks. As children get older they should then be given more challenging tasks.

Demonstrate. Children need to know exactly what’s expected of them. Therefore, it is a good idea for parents to make sure their children know exactly what their chores are. Whenever you’re introducing a new task, make sure you teach your kids how to do it. Make sure you demonstrate the skills you want your children to learn from packing the dishwasher to making their beds.

Set up a reward chart. If parents have trouble getting their children to do their chores, a reward system can be set up to encourage cooperation. A chart can be placed in a prominent location in the home. Parents can then put a sticker on the chart for each completed chore. You can then both decide what reward they will get for doing the chores properly over a set period.

Don’t repeatedly remind or nag. Parents should try to avoid falling into the trap of continually reminding and/or nagging their children to complete their chores.  Instead, parents should make sure that their children are given the sole responsibility for the completion of their chores. If a child forgets or refuses to do a chore, parents should say nothing and simply apply the consequences.

Don’t do the chore for your child. If parents get frustrated and give in and do their children’s chores, children learn a number of things. First of all, children learn that their parents don’t mean what they say and will not follow through. Secondly, children learn that if they hold out long enough someone will do their chores for them. Parents should simply apply whatever consequences you have decided on until the child learns to complete the task.

Provide lots of praise. Parents should always provide lots of praise and encouragement when their children make an effort to do their chores. Parents should keep praising, even after their children have been consistently doing a chore well.

Offer choices. Allow your kids to have a say in the tasks they’ll be responsible for. One way to do this is to make a list all of the jobs that need to be completed, and allow each child to choose two or three age-appropriate tasks. Then, on “chore day,” you can each pick one or two cards and complete those jobs. Working together, you’ll have these tasks done in no time!

Don’t expect perfection. Each job should be done to the best of the child’s abilities.  That doesn’t mean it will be done the way mom would do it.  Remember, the goal is to get them to participate.  Help them feel good about their efforts.

Gradually Increase Your Kids’ Responsibilities. As your children become more skilled in completing chores around the house, mix it up by introducing new tasks. For example, once your preteen has mastered packing the dishwasher, consider whether they are ready to unpack the dishes once washed and put them away.

Teaching kids about chores not only helps them in their home life, but it will also bring about positive aspects in school as well. The skills and values learned by doing chores will benefit children throughout their lives. The results may not initially be perfect but over time, you’ll begin to see that your kids are getting better and better at the skills you’re teaching them.

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