The idea of chores seems to have lost its way through the new age of parenting. Although there are contradicting ideas of when to start giving your children responsibilities, research shows that light household chores help your child learn valuable lessons such as: responsibility, handwork, teamwork, diligence, and respect.
Many parents struggle with giving their child a load that is larger than they can handle. By beginning to teach your children how to multitask and manage their time at a young age will lead to greater successes in their adolescent and adult lives. Research shows that introducing age-appropriate chores to children as young as 3 or 4 years old greatly improves their successes later in life. When a child is asked to do a task they are capable of doing, they feel a sense of accomplishment and importance when that task is competed. It encourages they to want to continue helping with other tasks in the household, and eventually in the community.
To begin, teach your preschooler some simple tasks they can easily complete around the house. Some examples are picking up toys, setting napkins at the table before dinner, or helping to feed the family pet. These chores may need adult assistance, but it will be worth it in the end! A sticker chart can be used to help remind the children to complete their chores each day. When a chore is completed, they get a sticker. Stickers can add up over time to equal a reward of greater value.
As children get older, the difficulty of their chores should increase as well. For example, school-aged children can be held responsible to put their shoes and backpacks away after school. You can also teach them to put away their clean laundry and how to tidy up their bedroom. It is important to not expect perfection, but to praise their efforts along the way.
Once your child enters their teenage years, the responsibilities should start to increase. Light housekeeping can be added to the chores list. Examples are dusting furniture or sweeping the floors once a week. These weekly chores can contribute to an allowance which will teach them the concept of economy and how hard work can pay off. If you don’t want to pay your teen real money, chores can be exchanged for time with electronics or outings with friends. The importance of teaching a teenager how to manage chores is immense. It introduces them to important life skills that will be helpful after high school in allowing them to live independently.