Teaching children how to take care of themselves and their home should be every parent's goal. Discipline with chores teaches children how to become responsible adults. Doing these tasks teaches kids how to apply themselves to work they may not especially enjoy. It helps them understand that some jobs must be done whether you feel like it or not. And since most adults have to do chores and take care of responsibilities, it is important that children begin learning this at an early age. So where do you start?
- Children can begin to have their “own” chores by about the age of 4 and more complex chores should be added as they grow older.
- When it comes to chores, children's enthusiasm runs opposite to their ability. The less able they are to do something, the more eager they are to do it! You can capitalize on your child's willingness by keeping this in mind: Do not expect perfection. You are teaching your child. Whatever the task, you will be doing it again soon; such is the very nature of chores. Keep yourself from redoing what your child has done. (I know for the OCD parents reading this that is easier said than done lol)
- Allow your child to value the joy of a task completed by her own hands, at her own level of ability.
Make it fun
- As a parent, you influence the way your child views things. Whether you call them "chores," "life skills," or something else, inspire your child to see her/his jobs as essential elements of a warm and loving home environment.
- Capitalize on the advantages of work by making it more doable for your child. Do not forget to show your appreciation. Saying thank you means as much to your child as it does to you!
Children who do too little have moms who are doing too much!
- Children are not the only ones who will reap the benefits of a daily education in life skills. As your children age so will their abilities. They will be able to do more and with perfection! Keep it up and by the time your little sweets turn into fire breathing preteens whether they hate you or love you they will have mastered cleaning up after themselves, prepare meals & even do their own laundry!
Chores for Preschoolers
Preschool children can be given simple chores that involve picking up after themselves. For example, their chores should include picking up their toys each day. They can also begin to learn how to pick up their room and put their dishes away after a meal. These sorts of chores teach them that they need to be responsible for their own messes.
Young children can respond well to a sticker chart to help remind them to do their chores. Since preschoolers usually can’t read, a chart with pictures of each chore can be a reminder to them. Then once they’ve completed each chore, they can earn a sticker. A sticker can be enough of an incentive for young children while older children will need more of a reward to motivate them.
This is the behavior/chore chart that I use in my home. The reason I love it is for its versatility! I have the chart with the expansion sets below. Each set comes with a few extra blank cards for even more personalization; however,the company does sell a set of blank cards as well as extra stars. The stars are velcro and can be used time & time again!
When children begin attending school, their responsibility with chores should increase as well. School age children should continue with chores that relate to picking up after themselves. For example, teach children to put their shoes and backpacks away when they get home from school.
School age children can also be given new chores as well. For example, helping to care for a pet can be a great way for them to begin increasing their responsibility.
As chores become more complex, it is important to teach them in a step-by-step manner how to do each chore. For example, if a child is expected to put his own clothes away, be sure to teach him where to put the clothes and discuss your expectations. Be sure to praise them for their efforts and encourage them to keep practicing. Don’t expect perfection.
Chores for Tweens
As children become tweens, their ability to complete more complex chores increases. Begin giving them chores such as sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, and even washing the car.
Tweens are often motivated by money or electronics. So be sure to implement a reward system for completing their chores. Positive consequences will keep them motivated. For example, allow them to earn tokens for each chore which can be exchanged for time using video games.
Avoid power struggles when kids don’t complete their chores. For example, if a child refuses to take out the trash, don’t argue about. Simply don’t allow him to earn his incentive. This is similar to a real-life consequence of when an adult doesn’t go to work and as a result, doesn’t get paid.
This is a picture I came across while researching for this article and I absolutely love it! I love that it gives value "credit" to the chores around the house to help tweens & teens pay for the things they want. Sometimes I feel like kids lately expect certain luxuries that I know were certainly a privilege when I was growing up. I feel like this "credit" system can be adapted for any age level, a new toy, a trip to a amusement park, etc. So feel free to print out a personalized version of your own!!
Chores for Teenagers
Teenagers need to be given chores that will help prepare them for the real world. When thinking of chores for teenagers, consider real life skills they will need as an adult. For example, they need to be able to cook, clean the bathroom, mow the lawn, and do the laundry. If you have concerns that your child lacks basic skills in any area, it’s a good idea to teach them now.
It can be very helpful to teenagers to earn an allowance for doing their chores. This is the best way to teach kids about money. Provide them with regular chores to do as well as extra incentives to do more. For example, give your teen a list of extra chores that can be worth a little extra money. Cleaning the basement, vacuuming out the car, or organizing the bookshelves for extra cash can provide teenagers with an opportunity to make good decisions.
Chores stink! I know...But with a little help they don't stink as much! So capitalize on those teaching moments, train your children young but most of all keep it fun!
Live. Laugh. Love...and Cherish Every Moment of It!