Getting Kids to Help with Chores
Coaching Kids Through Spring Cleaning Chores
by Dr. Caron Goode
On the surface, coaching kids to do chores seems like no more than getting children to pick up around the house. Coaching kids to pitch in regularly with household maintenance instills important values, teaches life lessons and basic domestic skills. Each skill listed in this article has an affirmation for you and you child to put on index cards and read together each day to reinforce the team work of a family.
Children feel like they truly belong to their family unit. Having kids do chores helps a child feel connected to their family. Assigning chores allows each member of the family to share responsibility in the day-to-day operations of home life, which sends these messages:
- We value you as a family member.
- You matter; your contribution matters.
- You are unique and important to the overall success of the family’s day.
From teaching responsibility to encouraging independence, chores instill important values in children, such as:
1. Responsibility. Chores teach kids that they are responsible for their personal items like clothes and toys. If I don’t pick up my things and put them in their place I may lose track of them.
2. Teamwork. Chores teach kids that a group of people with a common goal can accomplish much. When everyone does their share of tidying up, the house gets clean quicker.
3. Self-reliance. Chores teach kids that there are some things you must depend on yourself to do. If I want a neat bed and I don’t make it, no one is going to make it for me.
4 . Confidence. Chores teach kids to have an “I can do it” attitude. Completing age-appropriate tasks can be fun!
5. Community. Chores teach kids the importance of community living. If I know how to be an active member of my family community, I will be able to be an active member of my school or work community.
6. Independence. Chores teach kids that they are capable of doing some things on their own. As I get older, there are more things I can do without a grownup’s help.
Chores also teach kids important life lessons that are best taught in the safety net of home.
- Organization. Chores teach kids that when everything has its place, it’s easy to find things. When I know where things are I won’t have to waste time searching for them.
- Structure. Chores teach kids that specific things must be done specific ways. When I do it right the first time, I won’t have to do it again.
- Prioritization. Chores teach kids that sometimes we have to do the things that aren’t fun first. If I want to have a friend over, I need to pick up my play area first.
Chores also help teach kids life skills, basic domestic tasks that all adults must learn to master. Basic life skills that can be taught through chores include:
- Cooking. Chores teach kids how to prepare meals and snacks. I can make my own snack when I am hungry.
- Cleaning. Chores teach kids how maintain a healthy home. When I see crumbs on the floor I should pick them up so that bugs don’t eat them.
- Laundry. Chores teach kids how to care for their clothing. My clothes don’t magically appear clean.
And the great thing about chores is that even the youngest member of the family can do their part.
Children as young as one can: Help put small toys in a large bin for clean up, make a bed, put clothes in hamper, put cup on table when done.
Children as young as two can: Clean up small spills, put books on a shelf, help sort laundry, carry small items from car to house.
Children as young as three can: Help set the table, empty paper trash cans, fold socks, put spoons and forks away.
Children as young as four can: Clear table, rinse dishes, help vacuum, dust.
Children as young as five can: Set table, help prepare meals, make a bowl of cereal, help feed a baby.
So as you take part in the annual rite of passage we call Spring Cleaning, get your kids involved.
To motivate your children to do chores:
- Consider posting a Spring Cleaning chore chart. Make a grid and list each family member’s name across the top and chores down the side. As a chore is completed, allow your child to place a sticker or check mark next to it. After the Spring Cleaning is complete, carry on with a weekly chore chart for the family. Here are some examples of chore charts from cleanorganizedfamilyhome.com that can get you started.
- Make chores fun. Have chore races or make up silly songs to sing as you do your chores. The cleanup song has been known to motivate even the most uncooperative toddlers to pick up their toys.
- Offer a family reward. Once everyone’s done their job, prepare a favorite meal, play a favorite family game or go on a family outing or adventure.
Spring Cleaning provides the perfect opportunity to introduce your children to chores. Seize the moment! You’ll be thankful you did!
Dr. Caron Goode is gifted with compassion in assisting others to effect lasting transformation through spiritual coaching, books, classes and seminars. Caron’s continuous education, experience in psychology and professional writing makes her a great resource for parents wishing to create and maintain a nurturing relationship with their children. She has positioned the Academy for Coaching Parents International (www.acpi.biz) at the forefront of the parent coaching movement to disseminate the coaching model of empowerment for parents. Read her newest book – Raising Intuitive Children by Goode and Paterson. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.