Every household has this discussion of whether and when to involve the kids with the household chores. A coin has both sides. There are people who feel it is best to start and teach them young and there are people who believe in letting them enjoy their childhood till it lasts.
I, happen to be one of those who believe that it is best to teach them young. It’s never too early to get your child involved in the household chores. It is best to lay the foundation for skills useful later in life. It is necessary for them to learn that it is part of daily life and that everyone needs to contribute in running a household. After all, these life skills are necessary when they have their own house, job and start their own family. It might be something very small, but it will teach them to cooperate with others and that helping around the house is important. Kids always copy what mommy and daddy do. So what better way to teach them by example and by starting young. It helps to build their confidence. And yes, don’t forget to praise them plenty, for all their efforts.
Here I have mentioned a few chores that kids of respective ages can help with. There is no hard and fast rule, chores can be different according to every household. This is just a general idea I have in mind.
- Young kids (around 5 years old) can help with folding small clothes, keeping things (especially their toys) in place, setting up the table at meal times, they can help in making the bed like placing the pillows and sheets, wiping surfaces, serving their own food, handing out clothes while hanging the laundry and throwing the trash. It is best to start with things that they can relate to. Don’t look for perfection. Their effort and willingness to help is what matters.
- A little older kids (7 to 9 years) can help with dressing themselves up, packing their lunch box and water bottle, setting up their school bag, keeping away their school bag and shoes, sorting everyone’s clothes in different piles, polishing their own school shoes, cleaning up the table after mealtimes, watering the plants and feeding the pet.
- Once the kids enter their teens, they would like more responsible work. For them it’s more of being part of the real life than just play. Like grocery shopping, cook simple meals, walk the dog, or taking care of the pet, help their younger siblings with schoolwork, baby sit the younger ones when parents are out, mow the lawn they can even help with the laundry, sweeping /mopping/ vacuuming, and wash the utensils. They can even earn some pocket money this way. In fact, in the western countries, teenagers even take up part time or weekend or vacation jobs to earn that extra pocket money or maybe contribute to household finances. This will help improving their confidence, self-esteem, problem solving skills and self-reliance.
- Let them help as soon as you think they are ready.
- Initially make it fun.
- Remember to do it as a team.
- Encourage and praise them for however small their effort.
- Reward them with whatever you feel is ok.
- Never use it as a punishment.
- And most important. All chores have to be gender neutral. Learning to cook and do the laundry is equally important for boys as is learning to wash their car for girls.