Why do children need chores?

Every child wants to contribute something real to the world.

 When we don’t allow real work to happen, our children will often talk about being “bored” and misbehave more.

Children seem to become increasingly dissatisfied with life, despite “having everything.”  Chores remind children that they have jobs in the family; that they are needed and the family depends on them.  This grows responsibility, confidence, and real-life skills!

What about very little kids?

Children 3 and under can “help” with cleaning up around the house: washing dishes, sweeping, dusting, cleaning up toys, putting away clothes, helping with meals, setting the table, yard work, etc.

You have to remember that they are learning how to contribute, not how to do a job perfectly.

If you keep it positive, fun, and real, children this age are willing and able helpers!

What about the older children?

Around 4 years and older, kids can select a couple of jobs and start training on them.

If you assign jobs, you are more likely to receive more push back!  

If you give a choice of 3 and say, “pick one” the child is more likely to want to help.

Their daily living should be their work; getting dressed, brushing teeth, bathing, homework, meal preparation, meal clean-up, laundry, etc.

As children get older or whenever they are ready:

Allow them to choose jobs like taking out the trash, taking care of pets, making meals for the whole family, etc.

The child is not paid for these chores, but if he or she would like to earn more money, they can take on larger and special jobs!

Remember: every child needs to be trained on a new job.  As parents, we want progress, not perfection.  Be patient, consistent, and positive!

Don’t expect your children to always “whistle while they work.”  As adults, we don’t always love vacuuming and dishes, so remember, your children are no different!

Be sure to celebrate the family when everyone is doing their jobs!  Dance parties, going out for frozen yogurt, any small and low-key celebration will do!

How do you delegate chores in your household? I’d love to hear from you!

~Meghan Leahy

Follow Meghan on Twitter

With common sense, humor, and time-tested strategies, Meghan helps parents build positive connections with their children.  Understanding childhood development, learning how to lessen “problematic” behaviors, as well as making it fun to parent again, these are the goals  set and achieved with the parents she works with.

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